A man has been jailed for over two years for blackmail

Mark Purcell, 36, of Ivy Avenue, Barrow was sentenced by Judge Archer to two years six months today (Aug 21) at Preston Crown Court following a four-day trial.

The court heard how Purcell met a woman online in December 2021.

After meeting the woman Purcell made contact telling her he had possession of a video blackmailing her that he would post it online. He proceeded to send her still images of the video to reaffirm his leverage.

Police arrested Purcell in connection with the matter in February 2022 after the woman contacted Cumbria Police and reported her concerns. His mobile phones were seized and the offending video recovered from his mobile phone.

Detective Constable Matt McFall, of Barrow CID, stated “When Purcell was interviewed about this matter he admitted to sending threatening messages to the woman.

“The victim absolutely did the right thing in contacting Cumbria Police who dealt with the report sensitively and professionally. We were able to recover the video before it went online.

“Cumbria Police will always strive to bring offenders to justice who maliciously send or threaten to send such private material into the public domain.

“It is a serious offence, and such behaviour could land you in jail.

“I am pleased that the Courts have taken this matter seriously and that Purcell has been held accountable for his crimes”.

What to do if you have been targeted

  • Don’t panic, help and support is available.
  • Don’t pay.
  • Save the evidence: Take screenshots. Save messages and images. Collect URL links to where the information is being shared online.
  • Report it to social media companies if communication happened on these channels. For example, Facebook or Instagram.
  • Report it to your internet service provider.
  • Block all communication with the person targeting you

We understand it might be difficult to report this type of crime to us, but our officers are here to listen and to support you in any way we can.

You can report intimate image abuse to us online via  www.cumbria.police.uk/report-it or by calling 101

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