A MAN jailed for harassing a Cork woman in 2015 by setting up a fake website of a sexual nature and adding ordinary pictures of the young woman and giving directions to her home, involved himself in exactly the same type of harassment again.
Detective Garda Aonghus Cotter said that Stephen Downey of Lissadell, Maryborough Hill, Cork, picked on the same victim for the harassment. Now six years later he has been jailed again — this time for two years.
The detective said two male callers came to her house looking for her, causing her deep upset and anxiety. He said Downey, 30, created a false profile of the woman and directed people to her home. He used images of her from normal social media and also used images of others that were sexual in nature on the same false profile.
Considering what sentence to impose in this case on Downey, the judge said, “Obviously the fact that it happened in 2015 weighs very heavily.”
The latest harassment occurred in March/April 2020.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “This is a very distressing case of harassment. False profiles set up and males directed to the unfortunate victim. It is most distressing.
“Her home, her person invaded in a really appalling manner. And to think this is a repeat offence from 2015 is to say the least an aggravating factor. It is invasive and very abusive.
“His level of empathy was almost non-existent. There is a significant amount of work to be done. He did undertake a lot of that but much is left to be done.
“The victim is entitled to be protected — the fact that people were sent to her house. Four years is merited. In everyone’s interest he is to be supervised on his release and I will suspend two years of that.
“I order that he has no contact with the injured party in the indefinite future — that is forever — direct or indirect.”
Sinead Behan defence barrister said the accused’s family were appalled by his actions which were entirely out of character for the family and they supported him in his counselling and rehabilitation.
In November 2015, the evidence in that similar harassment case was that up to 30 men called to a house believing it was the home of the same young woman depicted on the website.
In that case, Judge Ó Donnabháin imposed a one-year sentence with half of it suspended on Downey, who was 24 at the time.
Six years ago the victim said she felt degraded and her self-esteem was shattered, she felt used in a vile manner and felt ashamed and did not know why Downey had done this to her as she had never done anything to him. She wondered what pleasure he could have gotten from what he did to her.
The victim impact statement in the present case was not read in open court. Instead it was handed directly to the judge who read it privately. The judge said the defendant could be identified but not the victim.