Businesswoman avoids jail after triggering suicide attempt with revenge porn images

By Amy Walker

A BUSINESSWOMAN caused her boyfriend’s ex-lover to attempt suicide after she posted intimate pictures of her on her company Instagram page during an “impulsive’’ bout of jealousy.

Clothing boss Rachel Dale, 28, had discovered the graphic images on Alex Montgomery’s phone on the day of her birthday – and then shared them with her 2,000 followers, warning the victim: “They will be all over the internet tomorrow”.

Although she deleted the pictures from her page after just eight minutes, they had already been circulated on social media forums and internet chatrooms.

The unnamed victim was so devastated by the disclosure she tried to take her own life and was treated in hospital before being allowed home.

At Tameside Magistrates Court, Dale, who lives a converted corn mill in Stalybridge, wept as she admitted an offence of disclosing a private sexual photograph with intent to cause distress under “revenge porn laws.’’

But as recruitment boss Mr Montgomery watched from the public gallery, she walked free with a suspended jail term after she claimed the offence occurred after she had been made redundant from another clothing firm where she had been a retail buyer.

According to Instagram, their business social media site now has 27,400 followers.

The court heard that Mr Montgomery, 28, had a brief affair with the woman several years ago before he met Dale and she sent various explicit pictures of herself to him.

The woman had asked Mr Montgomery to delete the images just a day after she sent them but the court heard the explicit pictures remained on his phone.

Prosecutor Ashley Seetal said: “In October this year the defendant was in a relationship with Mr Montgomery and she finds these pictures of the victim on his phone before uploading them to Instagram, a popular social media site.

“The Instagram account which the images were uploaded on was a joint Instagram account used by the defendant and Mr Montgomery.

“This had been set up and was used to promote the defendant and Mr Montgomery’s business which they worked together on.

“The account had 2,000 followers. These pictures were uploaded and made public, this means that the images can be seen by all 2,000 followers.

“Prior to uploading the images, the defendant sent the victim a message and in that message she alluded to posting the pictures online and in one message she said: ‘They will be all over the internet tomorrow’.

“The images being uploaded, of a graphic and intimate area, were shared to a number of group chats and social media chats.

“The pictures were up for 10 minutes, taken down, then immediately re-uploaded the following afternoon.

“The victim did attempt to take her own life. This was a serious attempt and she was taken to hospital and received treatment.

“The images when posted on to Instagram were viewable to a number of followers and the wider public. There is evidence of serious distress and serious significant psychological harm.”

A probation report read to the court said: “She accepts full responsibility for committing the offence and doesn’t try to minimise the seriousness of the impact.

“She does indicate remorse. She said if she could turn back the clock she would as she would prefer to deal with it in a different way.

“Four days prior to the offence she says she was made redundant which caused her anxiety.

“She has been in this relationship for two and a half years. She says the relationship is good but she does have some concerns about the status of the relationship.

“She was working full time and working with her partner on the side on their own business, which she invested in financially, as well as invested her own time and effort.

“She studied design at university. She did support her mother and helped care for her father, who sadly passed away and she remained with her mother to support her.

“Her mother now lives in Spain and her brother has gone travelling.

“She has not told her family in fear of their reaction. She has got a stable lifestyle.

“She has concerns, she is not sure if the relationship will continue long term.

“She still has to work things out with the business. She is not sure how successful it is going to be.

“While the victim had slept with her boyfriend, this hadn’t previously played on the mind of the defendant and the two parties have little to do with each other and were at an amicable level.

“But she went out celebrating the night before as it was her birthday and on finding the photo on the phone, she says she acted on impulse with intent of seeking revenge.

“She said she was quite distressed and said: ‘There were no other options at the time.’

“Her brother has offered to invest in the business but she said if he finds out about the offending he will pull out of the offer. She is an articulate young woman.’’

In mitigation, Dale’s defence lawyer Gavin Clarke said: “This is a lady who on October 1 this year was in a relationship with her partner for two-and-a-half years.

“They have a shared account due to their business with the purposes of their business together.

“At 7.29am she has been awoken by a number of images sent from a third party, from the victim, sent to her partner at the time.

“She sees these images, graphic and explicit images and various and she is devastated, she is mortified.

“She then texts the victim and pre warns her.

“Yes, she does upload those to an Instagram profile. They are up there for eight to nine minutes. They are not up there for eight months, they are not put on a streaming site.

“They are uploaded to an Instagram account with between 1,500 to 1,600 followers. It was posted for between eight and nine minutes at 7.30am in the morning.

“In terms of how many people who have viewed those, the numbers are going to be extremely limited.

“The person who followed the account would have to be on that account at that time. They would have to be looking at that particular account.

“There is no pre-planning, this is a spur of the moment. This young lady, as soon as she calmed down, realised the error of her way and took it down – that’s the end of the story.

“I accept there has been some humiliation but this is very different to revenge, this was a spur of the moment.

“She was going about her own business, finds this on her partners phone and reacts there and then. This was not out of revenge or some kind of hatred.

“This is a young lady of 28, who has never appeared before the courts before and I dare to say I don’t think she is ever likely to came back to this court again.

“This offence is something she genuinely regrets. She is aware of the impact this has had on the victim in this matter.

“She realised her error immediately and took the photo down. She was spoken to by the police and she cooperated.

“She didn’t blame anyone else she said to them ‘It’s me that’s to blame’.

“As regards her and her partner, the two of them are still in contact. She is not sure if the relationship is still long term.

“She had just got a full-time job as a buyer but she lost that job when cuts were made because of the recession.

“She is a professional and qualified young lady. Her business was nominated for a national award, she has worked really hard at this.”

Dale was sentenced to 12 weeks jail suspended for a year and was ordered to pay £200 in costs and surcharges. She did not comment after the hearing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!