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Man who posted sexual images of ex-partner on explicit site ‘destroyed’ her life

A victim impact statement, read by the district judge, heard how the injured party felt like he had 'destroyed' her life

A man who posted sexual images of an ex-partner on an adult website has been sentenced to five months in prison suspended for three years.

A victim impact statement, read by the district judge, heard how the injured party felt like the 41-year-old had “destroyed” her life.

Michael McDowell, of Tonagh Park in Lisburn, appeared for sentencing on two counts of disclosing private sexual photographs of an individual at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Monday, via videolink from his solicitor’s office.

Prosecution outlined that on October 14, 2018, the injured party contacted police after being informed that private sexual photographs of herself had appeared on a website.

She stated that the images had been taken by her ex-partner – the defendant – with whom she had been in a relationship from 2010 to 2014, however, she did not give consent for these to be displayed online.

Officers spoke to McDowell in the early hours of October 15, and in an interview on October 25, he provided mostly no comment.

Prosecution provided District Judge Eamon King with a victim impact statement and informed the court that no restraining order was being sought.

Defence barrister Mark O’Hare stated: “As far as the facts are concerned there is very little to it. There is no bad blood between the two parties…..this was an act of drunken stupidity.

“I have stressed the seriousness of the offences to him…however, these offences are more than four years old; he has nothing in his record in relation to acts of domestic violence. He has a single entry on his record from 2016 for disorderly behaviour.”

Mr O’Hare commented that his client had his “own crosses to bear”, having previously had addiction issues in relation to drugs and alcohol.

However, the barrister stated that McDowell had been “clean for some time”.

He asked that the defendant was dealt with in a way which “marks the seriousness of the offending but doesn’t derail his progress”.

District Judge King stated: “I have read the victim impact statement. In the final few lines of the two page statement the injured party says ‘I now feel like he has destroyed my life. I don’t know what else to say’.

“In the first few lines, she talks about the extent of the relationship with the defendant. She indicates a committed relationship in which both parties were open with one another. She believed she was speaking with someone she could trust.”

He continued: “During interview, he was asked for an explanation and gave the textbook response; ‘I was drunk, I don’t remember doing it…..the PSR (pre-sentence report) does not show any appreciation for the impact of his actions.”

McDowell was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for a period of three years.

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