Sex offender’s sister convicted of posting victims’ names on Facebook
The sister of a convicted sex offender has been found guilty of posting the names of his victims online.
Sophie Turner, 19, of Old Swan, Liverpool, was found guilty at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday of two counts of publishing the names of victims of a sexual offence and two counts of harassment.
In the first prosecution of its kind for Merseyside Police, she was charged with posting the victims’ identities on Facebook after her brother Jamie Turner admitted making indecent images of a child and, along with co-defendant Myles Bell, was found guilty of multiple child sex offences following a trial.
District Judge Wendy Lloyd told Turner: “This is serious behaviour and it was persistent behaviour.
“I’m obviously considering whether I should send you to a young offenders’ institution.”
She said the teenager could be given an unlimited fine for naming the victims and the charges of harassment could lead to a potential six-month prison sentence.
Pascale Jones, prosecuting, said details of the men’s sentences were published in a court report on the Liverpool Echo website and on its Facebook page on July 25 last year after they were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for 12 years each.
She said: “Within minutes of that release, messages were issued from the Facebook account in the name of Sophie Turner New which published names of victims in that trial.”
The messages from Turner’s Facebook account described the victims as “dirty little dogs” and “wrong uns” and claimed they would “lie for compo”.
Turner, who broke down in tears while being cross-examined, accepted the messages were from her account but said she had not written them.
She was interviewed by police after the victims reported the breach of their anonymity and in January this year was served with a postal requisition.
The court heard more comments from her account appeared on a Facebook post from Merseyside Police announcing she had been charged.
One said: “You will soon see because they won’t be victims once the evidence gets shown. They will probs be the ones behind bars, not me or the lads and then everyone of yous are going to look complete idiots.”
Turner again denied writing the comments, apart from one in which she corrected her age.
Wearing a white jacket and pink floral top, she told the court: “If I’d wrote it I’d admit it, like I did with the last message.”
She said her Facebook account could have been accessed by someone else in the home she shared with her mother and sister, but she did not know who.
But Judge Lloyd said she found beyond all reasonable doubt that Turner posted the items on social media herself.
Ms Jones said Turner was being charged under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992.
She said: “One clearly gets the view from reviewing legislation that its main target was the publishing world, the news world. Clearly, social media back in 1992 was not what it has become in 2018.
“It primarily targeted publications and therefore corporate entities but nowadays anybody with social media account and keyboard at their fingertips can pretty much become a publisher.”
Granting Turner bail ahead of her sentencing on June 18, Judge Lloyd told her: “If you start hitting those buttons and you go on Facebook or any form of social media again and mention those girls, or anything to do with this trial, you are making more trouble for yourself.”
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Yui Mok / PA Wire.