Australian man jailed for stalking on Instagram
A Melbourne woman has been forced to move home after a "sadistic" Instagram stalker bombarded her with messages because she rejected his advances.
The 21-year-old met Mark Riley, 33, at a bar where he worked last year but after meeting again and exchanging messages his attempts to start a relationship were not reciprocated.
Riley was jailed for 10 months in the County Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to stalking, an offence that Judge Frank Gucciardo said has "aspects of cruelty and meanness".
Judge Gucciardo said the woman felt uncomfortable by Riley's actions the first time they met but agreed to meet him again until he made advances, which she rebuffed.
He continued to ask her out and invite her over, but his messages were more often ignored than answered.
Riley visited the woman at her work, and later asked her to send photos of her breasts.
On February 6 last year she received 12 messages from an Instagram account containing her full name, Medicare number, bank and employment details and a claim the stalker had a video of her using a vibrator.
She blocked the account but the following day received 20 messages from another with a comment that it would be awkward if her mother saw the videos and that "$3000 to $5000 seems fair".
The woman went to stay with friends and asked contacts on other social media sites for help.
Judge Gucciardo said Riley offered to meet her, claiming to have a friend who may be able to track down the person responsible.
"You exploited this cry for help," he said.
Instagram and IP details later linked Riley to the accounts.
He denied responsibility when interviewed by police, but later expressed some remorse to a psychologist.
"You describe your conduct as 'a stupid game which was sickening', as 'a practical joke which was a mistake'," Judge Gucciardo said, noting that rationalisation failed to deal with his motivation.
He said the victim told police the "sadistic" behaviour had impacted on her life and forced her to move, and it could be reasonably inferred she was traumatised by the "offensive and intrusive" messages.
"(Stalking) is a sadly prevalent and pernicious offence which has aspects of cruelty and meanness, clearly lacking in any empathy for the subject, focused on the perverse pleasure gained often - as indeed in this case - out of a sense of a rejection or entitlement or to punish a rebuff of a relationship which in your own mind was on foot ... but was not reciprocated at all by the complainant," he said.
Riley, a pathological gambler with a history of dishonesty-related criminal offences, who is already serving a prison term for unrelated matters, won't be eligible for parole until February 2020.