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Jilted boyfriend who was dumped in secondary school waged stalking campaign on his ex 10 YEARS later


A jilted boyfriend who was dumped in secondary college waged a stalking marketing campaign in opposition to his ex 10 years later by organising dozens of Instagram profiles in her title and messaging males. 

Thomas Berry mentioned he ‘by no means forgave’ Ellie Steele after she broke up with him once they have been 16 and had a ‘lengthy standing obsession’ along with her.

This got here to the fore when he used faux profiles in her title to ship suggestive messages to strangers and made guarantees to ship them bare photos.

The 26-year-old even recommended she had taken pornographic movies and that she had an OnlyFans account.

Poole Crown Courtroom was instructed that Ms Steele, who can also be 26, solely found this when she began to get messages from strangers asking for the movies and photos she had apparently promised them.

Thomas Berry, pictured right here outdoors Poole Crown Courtroom, mentioned he ‘by no means forgave’ his ex girlfriend Ellie Steele for breaking apart with him once they have been 16 years outdated

Ellie Steele, pictured, only discovered this when she started to get messages from strangers asking for the videos and pictures she had apparently promised them

Ellie Steele, pictured, solely found this when she began to get messages from strangers asking for the movies and photos she had apparently promised them

The court docket was instructed the ‘extremely subtle’ stalking marketing campaign started when Ms Steele began a job at Dorchester City Soccer membership, the place Berry labored as a coach and social media officer.

Though Ms Steele reported the accounts to Instagram, Berry deactivated them earlier than he might be caught solely to launch new ones of their place.

At its worst, Ms Steele counted 4 new profiles in a single week.

She started to suspect it might be Berry as a result of photos of her taken at college and on the soccer membership have been posted on the profiles.

He was ultimately rumbled when he messaged Ms Steele’s buddies and revealed particulars about her which solely he knew about.

After he was arrested in December 2021, Berry bragged to police he was extraordinarily IT competent and will make the faux social media accounts with ease.

Berry, from Poundbury, Dorchester, Dorset, pleaded responsible to 1 rely of stalking Ms Steele between Might and October final yr. 

He prevented jail and was as a substitute given a 5 yr restraining order.

Though the cost lined a interval of 5 months, Ms Steele mentioned the marketing campaign went on for six years ever since she began working on the non-league soccer membership.

She grew to become so anxious that she give up her job, stopped seeing buddies and feared that somebody was following her.

Talking immediately, she mentioned social media firms ought to take better accountability to close down faux accounts in order that no person else needed to expertise what she did.

Regardless of repeatedly reporting Berry’s accounts she mentioned they have been by no means eliminated and a Snapchat account continues to be energetic immediately, she mentioned.

Ms Steele mentioned: ‘Expertise is evolving so rapidly that our legal guidelines usually are not maintaining with it. It is too straightforward to arrange a number of accounts – I’d positively advocate for some sort of ID examine.

‘I stored reporting Tom’s Instagram accounts for impersonation however none of them have been ever taken down – he would simply deactivate them, then reactivate them or make extra.

‘Social media firms must take extra discover of what’s going on. So long as there are customers on their platform, they do not care about how persons are being handled.

‘Folks’s lives are being ruined they usually simply do not care. I do not need anybody to need to expertise what I did.’

Ms Steele’s case is available in the identical week analysis by England’s youngsters’s commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza discovered 4 in ten youngsters have tried and did not get social media platforms to take away dangerous content material about them prior to now month.

Jason Spellman, prosecuting, instructed Poole Magistrates’ Courtroom, that Berry’s actions had left his sufferer horrified and embarrassed.

The court heard that the stalking campaign started when Ms Steele got a job at Dorchester Town Football Club, pictured, where Berry worked as a coach and social media officer

The court docket heard that the stalking marketing campaign began when Ms Steele received a job at Dorchester City Soccer Membership, pictured, the place Berry labored as a coach and social media officer

He mentioned: ‘That is fairly a regarding case due to the efforts the defendant went to but in addition as a result of that they had no contact for a considerable time frame (earlier than the offending).

‘So what seems to have motivated this can be a lengthy standing obsession the defendant has held in the direction of the sufferer.

‘They have been in a brief relationship once they have been each 14 which was ended after two-and-a-half years by the sufferer.

‘When he was arrested, he instructed police he by no means forgave her and he wished to mess her round as a result of she harm him. He mentioned he was extraordinarily IT competent and will make the social media accounts with ease’.

Describing an Instagram bio which recommended Ms Steele modelled on OnlyFans, a pornographic subscription platform, Mr Spellman mentioned: ‘You may think about the sense of horror and embarrassment she felt when she heard this.

‘The efforts he has gone to makes this offence extra critical – it exhibits a component of crafty.

‘I ask for an indefinite restraining order as a result of she will likely be anxious that the conduct will proceed for the remainder of her life. Who is aware of the place this may have ended had police not interfered’.

In her assertion to police that was learn out in court docket, Ms Steele mentioned the ‘genuine {and professional}’ social media accounts had taken over her life.

She mentioned: ‘That is disturbing to me as a result of I do not know what content material he might have. Tom has a fixation on me. We’ve got recognized one another for 10 years.

‘This particular person is aware of the place I work, the place I dwell, and what college I went to. I really feel like another person is controlling my life and affecting my popularity amongst individuals who do not know me.

‘I’ve stopped utilizing social media. I do not belief anybody anymore. I’ve misplaced all of my confidence.

‘I fear about when it will cease and what is going to occur subsequent. Will there be an escalation?’

Addressing the court docket himself, Berry mentioned: ‘I need to placed on file how sorry and silly I really feel for my actions. I really feel like a unique particular person to who I used to be then.

Berry, pictured here leaving Poole Crown Court, avoided being sent to prison and was instead given a five year restraining order

Berry, pictured right here leaving Poole Crown Courtroom, prevented being despatched to jail and was as a substitute given a 5 yr restraining order

‘I do know there’s nothing I can do to take it again but when I may then I’d do the whole lot in my energy to take action’.

Magistrates instructed Berry he ‘very almost’ went to jail.

In addition to having to finish 250 hours of unpaid work, Berry was additionally ordered to pay £400 compensation to Ms Steele and banned from making social media accounts associated to her.

Talking after the listening to Miss Steele’s mom, Alison Steele, 53, mentioned she was ‘upset’ by the outcome.

She mentioned: ‘This has been a ten yr obsession so we hoped the restraining order can be indefinite. That may have given my daughter the peace of thoughts that he would not begin once more.

‘That is persistent and and it took 4 years for him to start out final time. She moved away to college however when she got here again to work on the membership it triggered him.

‘He was nonetheless making accounts proper up till he was arrested in December.

‘It has completely managed Ellie’s life. She is receiving remedy. She give up her job on the membership, which she cherished, as a result of she felt like she was being judged and he or she was afraid to go away the home.

‘At one level I needed to stroll her to work as a result of she was anxious somebody was following her’.



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