Convicted sex offender from Sunderland hacked ex’s Instagram account to send 'vulgar' comments in her name

A convicted Sunderland sex offender hacked into his former partner’s Instagram account - and then used it to abuse her friends.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:55 am
Prosecutors described Kevin Rowland’s comments on the social media site in the woman’s name as “vulgar” and “unsavoury”. Photo: Matthew Vincent/PA Wire.

Prosecutors described Kevin Rowland’s comments on the social media site in the woman’s name as “vulgar” and “unsavoury”.

Rowland 41, of East Moor Road, Pallion, Sunderland, was on a suspended sentence for attempting to meet a schoolgirl when he committed his latest crime.

He denied hacking into the woman’s Instagram account, between March 27, 2018, and April 4, 2018 at Sunderland, but was found guilty at trial last month.

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Magistrates in South Tyneside, who sentenced Rowland to a 24-month community order, heard he continued to maintain his innocence.

They were told neither the police or Crown Prosecution Service had pressed charges.

But Rowland ended up in court after his victim urged a review of the evidence under new rights’ legislation.

Prosecutor Amy Richardson told the court: “He did receive a victim harm warning, which was before this offence took place.

“This case refers to unauthorised access to the victim's Instagram account, which occurred after the police warning.

“What happened was that the victim’s account was hacked, and some fairly upsetting comments were made in posts.

“The messages were quite vulgar in nature and in respect of other people on the Instagram account.

“There were unsavoury words and descriptions. The aggravating factor is that the defendant was found guilty after a trial.”

Rowland was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years, in September 2017 for attempting to meet a girl aged under-16.

He was also ordered at the time to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Ian Cassidy, defending, conceded offering a full defence for Rowland was difficult to give in view of his insistence that he is innocent.

Mr Cassidy told the court: “You may ask why this has taken three years and two months to come to court.

“The offence was investigated by the police and the CPS, they said there was no further evidence.

“You do have what’s known as Victim’s Right to Review and that was sought much later and that’s what happened.

“Three years later, having denied any knowledge of it, it went to trial. It’s hard to mitigate when he still denies the offence.

“I’ve explained to him that, regardless of what he says, the court has found that he was guilty.

“It’s accepted it was based on circumstantial evidence, there was enough that was circumstantial.

“He doesn’t accept liability, he says he is innocent. It’s a very unusual offence, not one that’s prosecuted often, there are no sentencing guidelines.”

Rowland was convicted of a charge of causing a computer to perform a function to secure or enable unauthorised access to a program or data.

He was given a 24 month community order by the court and the order requires him to undergo 30 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service and do 100 hours of unpaid work.

The magistrates also ordered that he must pay an £85 victim surcharge.

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