Radio Sandwell Local News

Birmingham revenge porn mum: I wanted to kill myself

2015-04-05 11:04:47

Jason Cotterill's VictimThe victim of Facebook stalker Jason Cotterill

It was the moment her teenage daughter received a sordid sex photo that Birmingham mum Sue hit rock bottom.

Because Sue was pictured in the X-rated explicit image.

It was an unwelcome reminder of the past she had fought so hard to forget.

Chillingly, the mother-of-four had fallen victim to revenge porn sent by an obsessed former lover.

Jason CotterillJason Cotterill leaving Birmingham Magistrates court

She was driven almost to suicide as he bombarded her with Facebook messages.

Then there was the film clip of her engaged in a sex act...

“It got so bad I considered suicide,” says Sue, 43, who gave evidence at the trial of Facebook stalker Jason Cotterill.

“If it hadn’t have been for some great friends I would have gone through with it.”

Sue, who courageously admitted her past as a sex worker as she gave evidence from behind a screen at Birmingham Magistrates Court, spoke exclusively to the Sunday Mercury after Cotterill was last week jailed for 12 weeks for harassment without violence.

The Oldbury man was a former schoolfriend, with whom she slept just once after a night of drink and drugs.

Nightmare

What followed was a nightmare she feared would never end.

Cotterill, 42, pursued her through no fewer than 67 different Facebook accounts, opening a new one each time she blocked him.

He sent her a film clip in which she was engaged in a sex act, and another explicit image of her, both of which dated back to 2003.

Sickeningly, he also sent the image to Sue’s daughter, then 18 years old.

“It wasn’t nice for my daughter,” she says. “It was my past years ago. My kids didn’t need to know about that.

“I was trying to move on with my life. It’s part of my life I want to totally erase.

“I know I’m not blameless because I shouldn’t have slept with him. It was a stupid, stupid thing to do, it was a drunken thing.

“But it made my life an absolute nightmare.”

Lies

Cotterill told a string of lies in court, claiming that he had only been trying to warn Sue about the adult material.

It was an argument doomed to failure, not least because one of the messages he sent about the pornographic image read: “F*** it – going to have that pic as my profile pic lol.”

Sue says the harassment got so bad that she was afraid to set foot outside her Birmingham home.

“My life was made hell,” she says. “I became depressed, anxious and scared to leave the house.

“He didn’t know where I lived but I thought ‘What if he finds out?’

Worried

“It got me worried to go out, I was constantly looking over my shoulder.

“I became very depressed, and the fact that he was sending pictures to my daughter was the final straw.

“It was just constant. There was no let-up. He kept sending messages.

“Some people said ‘Oh it’s only messages’, but it consumes your life.

“They say you should delete your Facebook account but it’s a way of keeping in touch with my friends and family, especially friends I don’t get to see.

“I blocked him but each time he set up new profiles to get past it. There was no way he was going to stop.

“I was delighted when he was arrested.”

Bombarded

But even then the bombardment continued.

“He even sent me messages after he had been arrested,” says Sue. “There was no stopping him.

“I was on medication because of the worry.

“I reported him to Facebook nearly every time but they didn’t think his messages were threatening enough, and they did nothing.”

The court case in January this year, Sue says, was another ordeal.

Smirking

She gave evidence from behind a screen that was just a few yards away from Cotterill, who smirked as she spoke.

“I thought if I didn’t go to court he could carry on doing it, so I got the courage from somewhere,” she says.

“I’m happy I did, but it was difficult. This has been going on since August 2013 so it’s nice to be believed.

“It feels like a weight’s been lifted and hopefully this will be the end of it.”

Sue feels, however, that more needs to be done to tackle revenge porn.

Justice

“I’m happy the police arrested him and brought him to justice,” she says. “I hope this sends the message out that you can’t do this kind of thing.

“I have no idea how I got through it. There was a point where I was going to give in until a very, very good friend of mine said ‘You cannot let this man do this to you anymore’. She was very concerned about my health, my mental stability.

“The Government has made this sort of thing a criminal offence, and that is a good thing.

“But I think about young children and teenagers who are going through a similar nightmare, and it sickens me.

“There are people out there who are not strong enough to deal with it.”

Hacking

Cotterill, who lives in Causeway Green Road, Oldbury, failed to convince the court that his victim had tried to frame him by hacking into his computer.

In total he sent enough messages to fill almost 20 pages of paper, often bombarding her continuously for days and nights.

Sue is now taking college courses and planning to start an office job.

District Judge David Robinson had praised the clarity of her evidence as he found Cotterill guilty at the earlier hearing.

“That gave me some hope, some closure, that finally it’s over,” she says.

* Sue is not the victim’s real name. The Birmingham Mail, which chose not to name her during the court case, continues to protect her privacy.

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