A stalker has been jailed after hacking into a woman’s security CCTV to spy on her in her own home.
George Coughlan, from Wolverhampton, also created numerous bogus social media profiles to bombard the victim with abuse from December last year.
One chilling message he sent said: “I will make it my dying breath to mek ur life end too.”
Coughlan, 33, hacked into her home security system and downloaded 67 videos – with one of the messages he sent containing footage showing her relaxing in the lounge.
Officers arrested him on February 29 after the victim – who is known to Coughlan – contacted cops.
Police seized his phone for examination and revealed internet searches on the woman’s name and her partner, plus phrases including “log into iCloud without verification” and “free mobile phone tracker without user knowing”.
He’d also researched phone spyware to track SMS messages, calls, social apps and GPS movements.
Coughlan, from St Chads Road in Bilston, initially denied one count of stalking involving serious alarm and distress but in the face of compelling evidence presented to the court, he later admitted the charge.
On Friday, October 23, at Wolverhampton Crown Court he was jailed for 21 months. He was also made subject to a five-year restraining order in order to protect the victim.
Inspector Cate Webb-Jones from our Public Protection Unit said: “Stalking is a serious crime, an invasion of someone’s privacy, and as we’ve seen with this case can result in a significant jail term.
“Coughlan went to extreme lengths to exert control and intrude on his victim’s life. It was hugely upsetting and she was living day by day in fear. It’s simply not acceptable.
“Social media and easily accessible technology, such as spyware to track mobile phones, is giving stalkers more tools to harass victims and potentially put them in more danger.
“In the last year (April 19 to March 20) we saw reports of stalking and harassment rise by almost a third. Much of that is online offending and that trend continued during lockdown as people spent more time on social media.
“We don’t differentiate between people abusing or harassing others face-to-face or online: it’s still an offence and we will take action.
“We wish the victim well as she continues to rebuild her life following this traumatic experience.”
This content was originally published here.