sextortionist | 

Mistress admits blackmailing lover for thousands before exposing him to wife anyway

Cruel mistress Debbie Southern (55) sent intimate sexual photos to the man’s wife, captioned “Do I have your attention now?”

Debbie Southern

Debbie Southern

John TonerSunday Life

This is the revenge porn sextortionist who swindled £3,500 out of her married lover by threatening to expose their illicit affair before sending his wife the pictures anyway.

Cruel mistress Debbie Southern (55) sent a batch of intimate sexual photographs to the man’s wife, captioned “Do I have your attention now?”, despite him having already coughed up thousands.

Southern is due for sentencing at Antrim Crown Court tomorrow and faces a nervous wait to see if she will be jailed.

The mum-of-two spoke with an English accent when she declined to discuss her offending after being approached at her home. She then slammed the door in our reporter’s face.

Southern, of Main Street in Dungiven, previously admitted charges of blackmail and disclosing a private sexual photograph, also known as revenge porn.

Blackmailing people with private sexual photographs is commonly referred to as ‘sextortion’.

On Friday at Antrim Crown Court, prosecutor Mark Farrell said Southern and her victim began an extra-marital affair in August 2020, and the victim sent her “private sexual images of himself”.

Debbie Southern

He continued: “Very shortly into the affair, she asked him for about £1,000 and said that if he didn’t give her it she would tell his partner about the affair and send her the images.”

The court heard the victim paid the cash before ending the affair, but the smitten lovers would go on to rekindle the fling within weeks.

In January 2021 Southern again demanded £5,000 from the victim “under similar conditions, and he was scared the defendant would carry out the threats so he gave her £2,500”, the court was told.

Despite later “cutting off all contact” with everyone living in Dungiven, the victim bumped into Southern a short time later and waved at her in the street, prompting the spurned mistress to contact his partner on social media.

Initially, the victim’s wife tried to ignore the messages, but Southern later sent her a collection of explicit intimate photographs and asked, “Do I have your attention now?”

Arrested and questioned, she admitted the offences.

Prosecutor Mr Farrell told Antrim Crown Court while blackmail crimes were always serious “this case is a lower-end case” but one which may well attract a custodial sentence.

He added he had struggled “to find a case where a non-custodial sentence was imposed,” arguing it was very clear that the custody threshold had been well and truly passed.

“I accept that this case didn’t involve violence or the threat of violence. However, it still involved a psychological threat, in the sense that the private images would be made public or sent to the spouse in the context of an affair,” he said.

Defence counsel Damien Halleron lodged an impassioned plea in mitigation, saying the case was unique because it centred on a “consensual, albeit illicit, sexual relationship”, noting Southern hadn’t had “an easy paper round”.

He also said full restitution for the £3,500 had been made.

The lawyer told the court his client had been rejected by her mother at a young age, witnessed her father’s death, had two children to a man who “treated her as his personal punchbag” and now, with both her children moved away, was “a woman who is isolated”.

He continued: “Dungiven is a small village where everyone knows each other and everyone talks, and this woman has had to bear the sideways looks, the whispers and the unfortunate remarks made by others in the street.

“Every single time she goes out in the street, she lives in petrified fear that someone will make reference to what she has done, and that, in my submission, is true torture.”

He also revealed Southern had asked the Housing Executive to move her to Antrim or Limavady, even using a “locally elected representative” to bolster her case.

“She’s at the top of the Housing Executive list,” he added, before insisting her plea, the restitution and Southern’s background mental health issues were enough to allow a the judge to pass a non-custodial sentence.

Southern had been due for sentencing on Friday, but Judge Rosanne McCormick KC said she wanted to “reflect very carefully” on legal submissions before handing down a punishment, with sentencing adjourned until tomorrow.

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