back to article Cyberstalker caught after months on the run

Convicted cyberstalker Felicity Jane Lowde was arrested in a cybercafe in London's Brick Lane this week after two months on the run. Lowde was convicted, in absentia, by Stratford Magistrate's Court of harassing blogger Rachel North on 2 April this year. A warrant was issued for her arrest, and since then she has been in hiding …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm

    "Police have been trying to trace Lowde through her internet usage and asked the Oxford Mail for IP addresses of computers she was believed to be using..."

    Quite possible this lady deserves her legal trouble. But it doesn't say much for journalistic integrity that the Oxford Mail should give the IP information away; suppose the case was slightly different, and the cybercafeterienne had been righteous? Was the newspaper legally compelled to give the information away, perhaps by some annex of some obscure anti-terror law?

  2. Ned Fowden

    bad comments

    "She also left threatening and obscene messages"

    who gives a stuff about journalistic integrity, had someone been threatning you mr or mrs Pomeroy, i'm sure you'd be grateful for the assistance given to arrest that very person threatening you.

    until you've been in that position perhaps you should think carefully before making such comments.

    i'm all for privacy but breaking laws and hiding behind privacy is pathetic.

    well done Oxford Mail, i say

  3. Peter Darby

    IP =/= address?

    Esssentially, I see this as comparable to the police asking for copies of physical letters for the address. I don't imagine any paper would have a problem handing the physical letter over, but suddenly, when it's electronic bits, it's somehow a violation of privacy to find out where a letter to a newspaper has been sent from?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure

    Well, as an arrest warrant had been issued, handing out the IP address seems legit to me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Felicity Lowde is rhe victim here

    First of all the story and blog don't say anything about answering machine messages.

    Secondly, Lowde is the victim here. She expressed an angry dissent from Rachel North. This is her fundemental right under free speech rules. But North played up her victim status and used it to suppress Lowde's free speech.

    Lowde then has played into her hands by getting angry (bad), she should have pointed out that North is playing the victim to get special treatment and suppress free speech. Instead she put angry comments elsewhere. But if they were false, normal slander would have taken care of it.

    The ban on internet access is extreme and excessive and wrong. If it was slander then slander should be the charge. Not some special law to protect anyone who pretends to be thin skinned.

    North sounds like she know how to really play the 'I'm a victim' card to suppress a dissenting view.

  6. Adam West

    re: Felicity Lowde is rhe victim he

    Who'd have thought Felicity would be allowed Internet access while in custody?

    "She also left threatening and obscene messages on North's blog and answering machine, and began her own blog where she made defamatory and false allegations against North."

    Freedom of speech doesnt cover threatening someone. Having an opposing viewpoint is fine. Telling someone youre going to beat their face in because you disagree with them is entirely different.

    The only thing Lowde is a victim of is her own stupidit and misguided hatred.

  7. Stephen Glynn

    Special law?

    What special law or special treatment is this, then? The relevant law is the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, which prohibits

    'a course of conduct-

    (a) which amounts to harassment of another, and

    (b) which [the defendant] knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

    For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.'

    Nothing special about it. It's used all the time to protect people from cranks, bullies and stalkers.

  8. kain preacher Silver badge

    Felicity Lowde is rhe victim here ???

    Sounds like some has been drinking the special cool aide again or is a friend/relative.

    If you think that’s harsh here in California she could have been convicted of terrorist threats, intimidation, and harassment. Each one of those counts carries maximum sentence of five years. If she got convicted of stalking in California she could be sentence up to 25 years.

  9. Unity

    Lowde != victim

    A few relevant points:

    1. Lowde has a prior conviction (1999) for stalking/harassment and served 3 months in prison on that occasion.

    2.Rachel is not Lowde's only victim. There are at least 7 or 8 other people I know of who have been subjected to the same treatment, including a web designer who has been harassed by Lowde for almost a year after doing nothing more than a bit of graphic work for her blog.

    3. Lowde, we strongly suspect, has psychiatric problems. I won't go into detail but amongst the many false claims she's made one is that she is descendant of Captain Horatio Hornblower!

    4. The ban on internet access is entirely reasonable in the circumstances as that is the medium used to carry out much of the harassment.

    5. It was not just the Oxford Mail that supplied IP Address information, several bloggers also provided the same information, but only after she'd been convicted of harassment and only to assist the police in locating her so that they could bring her before a court.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    data protection act

    There is an exclusion under the data protection act, probably many times abuse by the police, whereby the police can be exempt from such disclosures required to "prevent or detect crime" and that would/could apply to obtaining IP addresses from the newspaper.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abuse

    I work at anonISP and can tell you that we would happily hand over the appropriate information to the police, but only if the request went through the right channels.

    It is not as simple as PC Plod phoning up and asking for information... there are strict procedures in place to protect privacy and data, and people specifically trained and authorised to deal with Police requests.

    The IP address on it's own would not be much use, remember, M(r/s) Pomeroy. The newspaper gave away nothing personally identifiable. It would have required the co-operation of the hosting ISP before a location could be discovered, and that ISP will, undoubtedly, be operating under very strict constraints.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Special Loser Laws

    "What special law or special treatment is this, then? The relevant law is the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, which prohibits"

    Normal laws make an ACT illegal, punching someone in the stomach is a crime whoever the stomach belongs to. But victim laws are different, they are either a crime or not as defined by the 'victim'.

    People threaten me often, I just delete their comments, but here North has not deleted the comment. Same act in both cases, but depending on the behaviour of the recipient, it's either a crime or not.

    It encourages people who want to use this special law to exaggerate their victim status. This is what North did, she didn't delete the comments from her blog and ignore the others, she's taken the comment and exaggerated the implied threat.

    (In the comment 'I hope someone slits your throat', 'someone' is a 3rd party not the speaker, but North said it was a death threat, which makes 'someone' the person making the comment. i.e. North misrepresents the comment to exaggerate the threat).

    This is why it's a bad law.

    Now image a scenario where North is arguing with me and both of us are angry and making 'I hope a terrorist kills you' comments. Only North would be able to use this victim law, because only North could play a plausible victim. Aren't all people equal? Well no, people who can portray themselves as 'Victims' get these special Nanny powers!

    It's a bad law and should be rewritten to avoid using terms like harassment which are subjective depending on the interpretation of the 'victim'.

    Kain:

    "If you think that’s harsh here in California she could have been convicted of terrorist threats, intimidation, and harassment. Each one of those counts carries maximum sentence of five years. If she got convicted of stalking in California she could be sentence up to 25 years."

    *Cyber*stalking, nothing I type here can do real harm to you. They're just words. USA is where this victim culture originated from. It's why people sue when the use their fridge as a step and fall off. I hope it never gets so bad over here.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Playing the victim

    "Freedom of speech doesnt cover threatening someone. Having an opposing viewpoint is fine. Telling someone youre going to beat their face in because you disagree with them is entirely different."

    Actually she said 'I hope someone slits your throat you...."

    That's not the same as

    "I am going to slit your throat you..."

    North then repeatedly calls this a death threat, which you've then taken in it's correct form.

  14. kain preacher Silver badge

    re: Special Loser Laws

    it does not matter in which media you convey the harassment. If some is inciting harm or violence on the web the police can go after you. If i say I'm going to kick your ass on line , the police can go after you.

    Also you have to look at the fact the lady has been convicted of stalking

    words can do a lot. You say nothing i say here can hurt you ?? what if i went online found you on a chat room and tell people there that you like to diddle little boys. put up a web site that says you diddle little boys.

    lastly should we stop her from merely expressing that she wants harm to come to the lady, or do we wait till she acts on it

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    victim blaming????

    The Judge looked at the evidence and decided Lowde was guilty of harassment.

    Take it up with the Judge, and don't blame the victim!

    There's a lot of commenters here who have not got any idea of the backstory.

    North did not accept or publish the comments, North was bombarded with hatemail and threats for a year, and took it without complaint or ackowledgemen. North had false complaints made about her by the stalker to the police, only then did North report the stalker as the police were then involved. Prior to that North had ignored the stalking; the stalker chose to escalate it.

    Police looked at stalker's complaint and found she as in fact harassing North. Stalker was arrested and warned, given police bail conditions not to contact North, which she broke, to live in her flat in Oxford, which she broke, rearrested, told not to use the net til trial - which she broke.

    The abuse escalated further, despite North not responding.

    Then North's stalker moved to within 5 miles of her house, Ignoring it made no odds at all. North became afraid for her safety.

    The stalker was tried and found guilty, *Only then* did North blog about it, on conviction - but then the stalker went on the run and continued to harass North. Eventually the stalker, (who had been in prison for RL stalking before) , was caught - and she was considered such a risk that the stalker was banged up pending psychiatric reports before sentencing.

    I do not see what else North could have done and am not sure many would have had her patience.

    The law is a 1997 law.

    Harassment is harassment.

    Take it up with the Judge.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Words are just words

    "words can do a lot. You say nothing i say here can hurt you ?? what if i went online found you on a chat room and tell people there that you like to diddle little boys. put up a web site that says you diddle little boys."

    If it is false, then it would be libel, if it is true then they are currently campaigning for a law to publicly list boy diddlers (see Megans Law). If its OK in the second case, and a law covers the first then what is the problem there? Why the need for victim laws?

    Words cannot hurt you, the backlash from your boy diddling is what hurts you and if you didn't do it, sue for libel and the act of suing fixes the problem.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cyberstalking from Patient Campaign Groups

    www.nhsexposedblog.blogspot.com details the cyberstalking over the last two months. Messages have been sent to me that can only be described as sickening.

    Adoko v Pal was the first Harassment Act 1997 on cyberharassment. The man had sued me 4 times and is now a declared vexatious litigant. He also used newsguy to accuse me of being a murderer, prostitute, barren etc. The West Midlands Police took no action and told me that I deserved this. I subsequently had to represent myself in court and obtain my own injunction. To remove the internet material, I contacted the Attorney General's office in the US. I suffered that for 3 years.

    Dr Rita Pal

    Editor

    www.nhsexposed.com

    www.nhsexposedblog.blogspot.com

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Words

    http://www.tarddance.com

  19. kain preacher Silver badge

    Title

    Words cannot hurt you, the backlash from your boy diddling is what hurts you and if you didn't do it, sue for libel and the act of suing fixes the problem.

    once accused there will be people that belive it no matter what. Some of those people would result to violence.

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