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creep warning Jail looms for bully convicted of sending revenge porn images of his ex-partner to two men

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Revenge porn convict David Hopper is confronted by reporter Steven Moore this week

Revenge porn convict David Hopper is confronted by reporter Steven Moore this week

Revenge porn convict David Hopper is confronted by reporter Steven Moore this week

This is the snivelling bully convicted of sending revenge porn images of his ex-partner to two men and threatening to send them to her dad.

David Hopper of Edenoit Road, Pomeroy, pleaded guilty to two counts of disclosing a private sexual photograph or film without consent and with the intention of causing distress.

The 25-year-old, who’ll be sentenced next month, also admitted a charge of harassment against the woman, who Dungannon Magistrates Court was told was in her mid-20s.

On Friday a judge tore into Hopper, telling him his view would be to send him to jail“immediately” and that he found his offending “totally offensive to any moral person”.

And he warned Hopper to stay away from his victim, adding: “Do not in any way try to contact your victim ever again, you understand?

“I don’t know what damage you have done to her already – any more and you are in serious trouble. Right, you can leave this court now.”

Two days earlier the Sunday World called at Hopper’s home in the Tyrone countryside to confront him about his sick crimes.

Clearly agitated, he denied the case was one of “revenge porn” despite the judge referring to his crimes in those exact terms.

Hopper invited us in, clearly with a lot to say about the case, but after disappearing into house a relative appeared at the door and made it clear, in no uncertain terms, he wouldn’t be speaking to us.

At a previous hearing District Judge Michael Ranaghan had made his feelings clear that revenge porn cases should be heard in the higher court.

He said two weeks ago: “I’m not happy with these cases remaining in magistrates court... revenge porn is very much a prevalent issue and I don’t think my sentencing powers could cope with that. This needs a slower look.”

He instructed the file to be returned to the PPS, requesting they “take a sensible attitude. I ask again they review the correct court this should be in.”

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David Hopper

David Hopper

David Hopper

A senior prosecutor reviewed the file and the PPS confirmed they were happy for the case to remain in the lower court.

On Friday Hopper was given a stern dressing down by Judge Ranaghan who reiterated his annoyance the case was not before the Crown Court.

On discovering the age of the victim was not in his papers Judge Ranaghan addressed Hopper’s solicitor Michael Fahy: “I’m well aware of this case, I’ve read the papers and I’m well aware the age is not in those papers.

“The age is very important especially as the defendant threatened to send these pictures to her father,” as well as “the two people he actually did send the photographs to.

“There are very aggravating features here Mr Fahy and you know my view on these should not be in this court. The wrong message is being sent out to people generally especially when we add in the aggravated features of the threat of sending the images to her father.

“I’ve read the text messages as well – a string of this girl pleading for... this person not to do what he ultimately goes on to do. I can only imagine the distress that victim was under for a considerable period of time.”

Addressing Hopper, the judge told him: “You can stand up now. As I indicated the custody threshold is more than breached, I’m going to tell you now Mr Hopper my initial view here is custody, and it’s immediate custody. I just find this set of offending as totally offensive to any moral person.

“Your victim I have no doubt has been damaged by this, I will give you the opportunity to attend probation services – they might say to me there’s something they need to fix your attitude, I don’t know.

“I think you claimed you didn’t realise it was a criminal offence, but I don’t believe you.”

At this point Hopper chirped up that he didn’t know it was a crime but Judge Ranaghan quickly slapped him down again.

He snapped: “Be quiet. I didn’t ask you to speak. We’ll take this to a pre-sentence report Mr Fahy. We’ll make that for the 15th January.”

The judge asked PPS if a blackmail charge was considered in this case. However, it was decided it was not appropriate to go for that as there was no demands for menaces.

But Judge Ranaghan replied: “I think there was a demand.”

He told Hopper: “If you don’t attend with probation, I warn you now you will go to prison. It’s every likelihood you’ll end up going to prison regardless.

“So you have a chance to speak to probation. They might be able to persuade me and indeed Mr Fahy might be able to persuade me on your behalf that some other disposal other than immediate custody will be relevant, but I will want, by that next date, the victim impact statement.”

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

Online Editors


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