'Controlling' man who hacked ex-girlfriend's Instagram and threatened to kill himself banned from Essex for a year

Joshua McMurtry pleaded guilty to harassment without violence after bombarding his ex-girlfriend with messages last year 

Vicky Gayle
Sunday 04 February 2018 18:18

A man who hacked into his ex-partner's Instagram account and deleted pictures of her has been banned from Essex for a year.

Joshua McMurtry, 22, subjected his former girlfriend to months of unwanted contact after she split up with him for being too "controlling".

He bombarded her with unwanted calls, sending emails and long letters to her home address - before recording an audio message threatening to kill himself.

Prosecutor Kathy Wilson told Colchester Magistrates: "She then described alterations being made to her email accounts like passwords and some of her social media accounts were deleted.

“A work email account was deleted and on Instagram there were modelling photos deleted."

In an impact statement read out to the court, the victim described how her mental health had been severely affected.

She said: "When I go out with friends, I put on a brave face but when I get back home, I crumble."

The court heard how the couple, who were together for three years, split up abruptly following a trip to Paris in May last year.

McMurtry later accused his ex-girlfriend of infidelity before recording an audio message saying he “did not want to live anymore”.

Louise Maples, mitigating, said it was McMurtry’s first relationship.

She said: "The relationship came to an abrupt end and he struggled.

“It was very devastating for him that it ended without any real explanation.

“He’d never been through a breakup and felt particularly awful and was seeking answers, but also to relay how he was feeling.

She added: “It was also his last year of university and the breakup coincided with his final exams so his stress levels were already quite high."

McMurty, from Nottingham, pleaded guilty to harassment without violence between May and August last year, at Colchester Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Magistrates ordered him to complete 160 hours of unpaid work and banned him from Essex for a year.

He must also pay £170 in court costs.


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