A MUSICIAN hacked the Snapchat account of his best mate’s girlfriend to steal her intimate photos.
Vile Robert Leary, 27, used the dark web to access his victim’s password then bombarded her with abuse.
He hounded the NHS worker with copies of the private images coupled with explicit messages.
Over a two-month period, the rock guitarist tried to pressure his 26-year-old victim into sending further snaps.
She pleaded with him to delete them and stop but he would respond: “How much do I need to pay to see more?”
Leary, who was training to be a teacher, even sent pictures of his victim partially undressed to her horrified partner.
Police eventually exposed the bassist, from Crosby, Merseyside, after the woman approached a cybercrime charity for help.
It was then revealed the culprit was her partner’s best friend of 20 years, leaving the couple in “complete shock”.
In a statement, the woman, who has since deleted her Snapchat profile, said: “It was not a stranger as I had let myself believe and I was immensely upset and angry – it affected my partner profoundly.
“It caused us to feel unsure about who we could trust.
“It is difficult to understand how someone so close could do this with no regard to the distress it would cause to us.”
The midwife said she had “never felt so embarrassed or ashamed” by the ordeal, which initially stopped her seeking help.
“I felt violated, my privacy was invaded and my body sexualised,” she added.
“I felt intense shame which prevented me from talking about it.
“It was the worst months of my life and it changed who I am.
“It increased my anxiety and I worry that nothing I do will ever be private again. It caused me to doubt myself worth.
“Even the noise of Snapchat notifications on someone else’s devices gives me an awful feeling in my stomach.”
At Sefton magistrates court, Leary pleaded guilty to charges of computer hacking, harassment and sending offensive messages and images.
He was sentenced him to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay his victim £200 in compensation.
I felt violated, my privacy was invaded and my body sexualised.
The court heard how Leary signed up to an illegal website to access the woman’s log in details to find a ”camera roll of photos of herself of a compromising nature”.
He downloaded them, used four fake Snapchat accounts to add his victim as a ‘friend’ then sent her the photos.
“A conversation started and I was sent a message of me partially naked and my heart dropped,” the victim said.
”I could not understand how this stranger could have private pictures of me, especially as I hadn’t shared them with anyone.”
Despite begging him to stop, Leary continued to torment the woman for two months, telling her he would only delete the photos if more exposed ones were sent.
“I was intensely anxious and worried, embarrassed, disgusted and alone,” she said.
After contacting a charity, the matter was handed to police.
But the woman later received a message offering cash for more photos, before her “worst fears became a reality”.
Her partner received a message asking, “Do you know her?” with more exposed images of his girlfriend.
‘DISGUSTED AND DEGRADED’
“It could have been detrimental to my relationship, but luckily I have an understanding and supportive partner,” she said.
The midwife was, however, terrified that the experience might wreck her career.
She said: “I am a healthcare professional who has worked extremely hard to get where I am.
“The worry of the damage those messages could do to my career was unbearable.
“It made me feel like a sexual object, disgusted and degraded.”
Clare Roach, representing Leary, who has no previous convictions, said he accepts his guilt and remorse.
“Not only has he destroyed his own life but that of the complainant and his ex-friend,” she added.
“He knows he cannot take it back. He offers his apology.
“He wants her to know how remorseful, ashamed and sorry he is, not only for the pain of the time, but what she continues to suffer from today.'”
Leary was also ordered to complete 40 hours unpaid work, 25 days of rehabilitative activity and a six-month mental health treatment programme.
Magistrates imposed a three-year restraining order, preventing him from contacting the couple.