Dad says revenge porn attack was to force mum to let him see son

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A dad has said his revenge porn attack was an attempt to force his ex-partner to let him see his son.

Anthony Ward sent a naked photo of his victim, who the ECHO has chosen not to name, to her new boyfriend and to her sister.

He also threatened to print out copies and put up the posters near her home.

The woman said that after she got involved with Ward there was 'nothing but hurt' in the five years they were together in an 'on and off' relationship.

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After the 39-year-old shared the private image, the woman was left so traumatised that she stopped going to work.

Ward appeared at Liverpool Magistrates' Court this morning where he was due to be sentenced for three charges.

Michael O'Kane, prosecuting, said: "The victim and the defendant were formerly in a relationship for five years. They have a three-year-old child."

He explained the relationship ended in July 2019 and that between September 2019 and January the following year Ward sent threatening messages, went to her home and kicked her front door, causing "extensive damage".

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Mr O'Kane said that on September 15, 2019, Ward "called the victim in the early hours of the morning" and in a text wrote "this is your last chance to answer the phone otherwise I'm on my way down. I'm not playing any games".

He explained that at 9am he went to her home and kicked the door as she pushed the door, telling him to "go away".

Mr O'Kane said: "The defendant kicked the door through and entered the property with some force."

He explained the woman gave permission for Ward to take intimate photographs while they were in a relationship, which he later threatened to share to her family members.

Mr O'Kane said: "The victim spoke with her sister and she confirmed the image was sent to her on January 22.

"The defendant sent the image to the victim's current partner from his phone and also threatened to distribute the image around Croxteth and St Helens, calling her 'dirty b****'".

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In a victim personal statement, read in court, the woman said: "First of all I would like to make it known my life has never been the same since I got involved with him."

The woman said there was "nothing but hurt" and claimed he "blackmailed me and had me convinced he was better than me".

She said: "I was always in the wrong, he was always in control – I will forever be living in fear for him."

The woman said Ward "beat me up" which "resulted in him getting charged" but added the "abuse never stopped".

The victim said Ward "beat me up publicly in a taxi" and threatened her to drop charges.

She said: "I was always living in fear and stopped speaking to many members of my family."

The woman said he also "forced me to take out an Amigo Loan" of £4,000 so he could buy a van.

In the statement she claimed the loan still causes her "great distress" and said Ward had told her "If you're so bothered about it pay it yourself".

The woman said: "He has had chance after chance and it's always his terms."

Speaking about today's charges his victim said: "The incident caused a lasting effect on my mental health" adding it had caused her "anxiety" and "trust issues".

Ward has two previous convictions for three offences including one offence of criminal damage in September 2016.

Kevin Kelly, defending, explained that in a pre sentence-report Ward had displayed "some limited remorse" with a "considerable amount of minimisation" of the offence saying the photograph was "nothing bad" and his actions were a "mistake".

Mr Kelly said: "He is mortified that is how he came across. When he stated the image was 'nothing bad' he was trying to convey that the image wasn't pornographic and simply a naked image of his partner."

He added: "He now accepts the nature of the photograph isn't relevant."

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Mr Kelly explained that first court case was "widely reported" in the press.

He said: "As a result of those reports Mr Ward was subject to online abuse and comments were made to Mr Ward and other family.

"That is no criticism of the reporting of the offence which was factual."

Mr Kelly said that after the "embarrassment" and "shame" of the reports "the penny finally dropped with him".

He added: "Mr Ward has now experienced what it is like to be publicly shamed.

"He has asked me to convey his apologies to the victim. He accepts at that time his attempts were to force his partner to allow him to see his son."

Mr Kelly referred to three character references provided to the court in which Ward is described as a "conscientious" and "diligent" worker.

Ward, of Stevenage Close, St Helens, admitted two counts of disclosing private sexual photographs and one count of criminal damage.

Magistrate Morgan said: "We don't feel we have sufficient powers to sentence that the magistrates did not feel their sentencing powers were sufficient and committed the case to the crown court for sentencing."

Ward was released on conditional bail until April 6, when he will appear at Liverpool Crown Court.

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