Sunderland man posted explicit picture of friend’s ex on Facebook ‘as a joke’

Nyall Stephenson, right, in the grey suit, leaving court.
Nyall Stephenson, right, in the grey suit, leaving court.

A man has admitted posting a sexually-explicit image on Facebook of a friend’s ex-partner which has left her scared to leave the house.

Nyall Stephenson, 24, placed the photo on the woman’s timeline, for her friends and family – including her mother – to see.

The injured party checks her Facebook profile routinely. She realised the defendant has shared a photo of her and her ex-partner. It’s fair to say it has some sexual context

Kevin Ross, prosecuting

He also wrote that her new partner would never be “a patch on” his pal.

Prosecutor Kevin Ross said: “The injured party checks her Facebook profile routinely.

“She realised the defendant has shared a photo of her and her ex-partner.

“It’s fair to say it had some sexual context – I won’t go further than that.

“She sees it’s been shared on her timeline and she realises in horror that others must have seen it, together with the words ‘good luck in your new relationship, but he’ll never be a patch on (ex partner)’.

“It turns out the ex-partner is a friend of the defendant’s.”

Stephenson told police that posting the image had simply been a joke, the court heard.

“The crown would never accept that,” Mr Ross added. “He must have realised it would cause distress.”

“The defendant never accepted that there has been an intention to cause distress to the victim,

“That does not get away from the fact that a great deal of distress was caused.

The victim said in a statement, read out in court: “The incident has made me scared to show my face and stay in the local area.

“It’s been very difficult for me.

“I’m aware other people, including my friends and family have seen it and my mother has seen the image.

“It’s put a strain on my current relationship and I’m shocked that I trusted my friend for four years.

“It concerns me that he may have given this photograph to other people and that he may have access to other photographs.”

Stephenson, of Dalegarth Grove, Seaburn, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to sending a sexual image, that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character, on August 30.

An alternative charge of disclosing a private sexual photograph or film without consent, with the intention of causing distress to an individual, was dropped.

He had no previous convictions the court heard.

Anna Haq, defending, said: “The parties had been friends for some time, and, this particular image that we are talking about, a year previously had been shared among friends.

“The injured party had given permission for it to be shared with Mr Stephenson and with 15 other males in a private message on Facebook. They had a laugh about it.

“A year later, unfortunately, Mr Stephenson took the wrong decision – he thought it was a joke – that he would share the photograph.

“She was aware he had and shared it on Facebook and it’s caused her some distress.

“He thought she would take it as a laugh also.

“He is extremely apologetic to the injured party and apologises for the distress that it’s caused her.

“He didn’t think it would at the time, and that it was a joke.”

Mrs Haq added: “This is a single incident of an image that has been uploaded and has had a significant impact on her.

“Due to this joke he has tarnished his good character.”

Fining Stephenson £175, bench chairman John Bolam said: “You know you’ve done a stupid thing.”

He was also told to pay £100 in compensation to the victim along with £385 costs and £20 victim surcharge.