Loughton: Georgia Harrison thanks police after Stephen Bear jailed
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“It changed my life. My only option was to go to the police and thank god I did. "Two years of hard work from Essex Police and I really do feel like I’ve got my justice.”
Georgia Harrison, a victim of revenge porn has gallantly spoken about her experiences and thanked the police, on the day her perpetrator has been sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.
Stephen Henry Bear, 33 of Bryony Close, Loughton appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court today (3 March) where he was sentenced after being found guilty of voyeurism, disclosing private sexual images without consent and breach of bail conditions.
The investigation, which launched in December 2020 received a large amount of interest amongst the media and the public on social media platforms.
This presented challenges for investigating officer, Essex Police Detective Constable Brian Sitch, however following Bear’s arrest in January 2021, he was charged with all three offences within a few months.
DC Sitch said:
“What Bear did was inexcusable and his actions along with his behaviour throughout the investigation and trial, demonstrated a complete lack of regard for Georgia Harrison’s feelings. “This young woman stood in a court room, in front of strangers and went over the most personal details of her private life. She had to sit her family down and explain to them that this video had been leaked. "This was all because Stephen Bear thought he could secretly film his former partner and he thought he could get away with appalling crimes in Essex. "Today he has been proved wrong thanks to relentless work to bring him to justice, and thanks to Georgia Harrison’s immense bravery. “We live in a society where we can share a photo or video at the click of a button. "Those who use social media platforms and those who manage these platforms must take responsibility and reflect on whether their behaviour is acceptable and legal. “Georgia has taken the silver lining from this huge cloud, that has been hanging over her for over two years and she now wants to help other victims. "I can’t commend her enough for her bravery and her patience.”
"This sends a clear message the police and courts take this matter very seriously"
Following the sentencing, Georgia said in a statement outside court:
"I am happy and relieved this matter is finally over. "This sentence is a vindication of what I have been put through and sends a clear message that the police and the courts take this matter very seriously. "I want to let all other victims of this crime know that I stand in solidarity with them and I have absolutely no regrets about waiving my anonymity. "I hope this puts anyone off committing this sort of crime and I hope this gives anyone else who has been a victim of it some sort of solace."
"You cannot treat women and girls like this in Essex"
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan said:
"This man thought he could treat women and girls like they were on a reality show. "He thought he could commit appalling crimes in Essex and get away with it. "He was wrong. "You can’t try to shame and manipulate people to satisfy yourself. "You can’t pretend that taking intimate videos and sharing them without consent is OK. It’s not. "And if you try to get away with it in Essex, you won’t, regardless of who you are. "Thank you Georgia Harrison, not only for your bravery but for your trust in our detectives. I’d like to commend the investigating officer in this case, DC Brian Sitch who has demonstrated his determination to stand alongside Georgia Harrison to hold this man to account. "I am also calling on the organisations who were not in court today to step up and take some responsibility for what has happened. "A young woman has shown immense bravery in taking a stand publicly to try to protect other women and girls. It’s now time for the social media companies who make money from the appalling distress that sharing intimate videos causes to reflect on their behaviour. "Let me be clear, misogyny and violence and intimidation against women and girls, in all its forms, is wrong – and it is for us all to stand up and stand together to stamp it out in our society."
Jane Gardner, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and chair of the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board, said:
“Georgia has been extremely brave throughout this investigation and has trusted our Essex Police officers, who have done great work in handling the case. I cannot pretend to know how hard this must have been for her, but I know that we all care deeply about getting justice for her. “This had been one of the highest profile revenge porn convictions in the UK and I hope cases like this will not only deter people from committing this crime, but also help people come forward and report these offences. “I want to be absolutely clear, in Essex, we will not tolerate male violence, abuse and misogyny against women and girls in any form. "Stamping this out of our communities is a big priority for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst. "As the Chair of the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board, I can tell you that we are continuing to work hard to help survivors and educating perpetrators to change their behaviour. "As well as supporting Essex Police to robustly target offenders and develop stronger investigations that lead to more successful prosecutions.”
Support for victims of sexual abuse
Support is there for anyone affected by rape and sexual abuse, and no victim or survivor is alone.
Synergy Essex provides specialist support for victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse of all ages and all genders across Essex, Thurrock and Southend.
Synergy Essex is a partnership of rape and sexual abuse centres in Essex: CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse), SERICC Rape and Sexual Abuse Specialist Service and Southend-on-Sea Rape Crisis (SOS Rape Crisis).
Synergy Essex is independent from the police and provides support for victims and survivors throughout their journey.
Victims and survivors can self-refer, or be referred by a parent, partner, friend or professional and can access specialist emotional support, counselling and advocacy.
For victims and survivors who report to the police, Synergy Essex provides an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) service, providing support throughout the criminal justice process.