‘Revenge porn’ accused refused bail at Dungannon Magistrates

Dungannon Court
Dungannon Court

A man accused of fraud and harassment arising from allegations of so-called revenge porn, has been refused bail.

Married, father of two, 46-year-old Neil James Edwards appeared at Dungannon Magistrates Court on Friday having been arrested in England and brought to Northern Ireland by PSNI Cyber Crime officers investing a case of alleged revenge online porn.

Whilst the case does not appear to have been motivated by financial gain, a detective told the court, police believe it was “to satisfy sexual needs and to exert control over females, picked randomly”.

Edwards, of Millenium Close, Northampton is accused of dishonestly making a false representation on dates between 11 and 14 September 2014, claiming to own a model ling agency. He is further accused of pursuing a course of conduct amounting to the harassment of a female on dates between 16 September and 13 November 2014.

Recounting the details of the case, the detective explained how the injured party is a female in her 20’s from County Fermanagh, who received a telephone call in September last year from a person purporting to be carrying out a beauty survey on behalf of a magazine.

She willingly engaged and was later introduced via Facebook to a person claiming to be female and representing a model agency.

The court heard that over the next two months she supplied 59 images on request, ranging from “fully nude, semi-nude, and three were classed as explicit.”

The injured party believed these photographs were required to create a 3D body scan to support a modelling contract but on 13 November 2014 she was advised no such model agency existed and was led to believe this was orchestrated by a teenage male from her home town.

She was then made aware, through another Facebook profile that her images had been posted on revenge porn websites, along with her name and personal details.

These messages continued, in which demands were made for further images, with threats that the existing ones would be posted online for thousands to see.

Officers traced the messages to Edwards and arrested him at his place of work on 16 December, on suspicion of blackmail.

District Judge John Meehan refused bail and Edwards was remanded in custody to appear by video-link at Fermanagh Magistrates Court on 13 January.