Anti-abortion 'zealot' jailed for clinic cyber attack


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The Independent Online

A "zealot with an anti-abortion campaign" was jailed for two years and eight months yesterday after he hacked the website of Britain's biggest abortion provider and stole the records of 10,000 women.

James Jeffery, 27, targeted the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) because he "disagreed" with the decisions of two women he knew to terminate their pregnancies, Southwark Crown Court in south London heard.

The computer "whizz- kid" defaced the BPAS website with the Anonymous hacking group logo and stole database records containing the personal details of women which he intended to publish later.

The former software engineering student – who used the online alias Pablo Escobar, after the Colombian drug lord – then boasted about his feat on Twitter.

When police arrested him at his home in Wednesbury, West Midlands, in the early hours of 9 March, after tracing him through his IP (internet protocol) address, they found his computer was in the process of being wiped clean. Jeffery admitted two offences under the Computer Misuse Act at an earlier hearing.

After learning that publication of the women's details could have put "some of these women at serious risk mentally and physically," Judge Michael Gledhill QC said in sentencing: "You only have to think for a few seconds of the terrible consequences had that threat been carried out."

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard said last night that one of the teenage boys arrested on Thursday in the West Midlands after hoax calls were made to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline and recorded, had been brought to a central London police station for questioning. A second teenager has been bailed pending further inquiries.