‘Extreme’ Wolverhampton stalker jailed after hacking into victim’s home CCTV

George Coughlan
George Coughlan

George Coughlan created 19 fake Instagram accounts, plus other bogus social media profiles, to bombard the woman with abuse from December last year.

One of the messages he sent contained a video showing her relaxing at home in the lounge – and it quickly became evident he had hacked into her home security camera system to seize footage.

Police arrested the 33-year-old on February 29 after the victim – who is known to Coughlan – disclosed the stalking and harassment to officers.

His phone was seized for examination and revealed internet searches on the woman’s name and her partner, plus phrases including “log into iCloud without verification” and “free mobile phone tracker without user knowing”.

Coughlan created lots of bogus social media accounts to continue harassing the victim

And he had researched phone spyware to track SMS messages, calls, social apps and GPS movements.

Police also found a total of 61 social media accounts linked to his phone – which he used to contact the victim – and 67 video files he had downloaded after hacking into the CCTV system.

Coughlan, from St Chads Road in Bilston, Wolverhampton, initially denied one count of stalking involving serious alarm and distress but in the face of evidence presented to the court later admitted the charge.

And on Friday at Wolverhampton Crown Court he was jailed for 21 months.

He was also made subject to a five-year restraining order in order to protect the victim.

One of the messages George Coughlan sent to the victim

Inspector Cate Webb-Jones from the Public Protection Unit said: “Stalking is a serious crime, an invasion of someone’s privacy, and as we’ve seen with this case can result in a significant jail term.

“Coughlan went to extreme lengths to exert control and intrude on his victim’s life. It was hugely upsetting and she was living day by day in fear. It’s simply not acceptable.

“Social media and easily accessible technology, such as spyware to track mobile phones, is giving stalkers more tools to harass victims and potentially put them in more danger.

“In the last year (April 19 to March 20) we saw reports of stalking and harassment rise by almost a third.

“Much of that is…