Operation Stovewood: Woman sentenced for identifying alleged victims online

A woman from South Yorkshire has been sentenced after admitting illegally identifying alleged sex abuse victims online.

Ann Marie Evans, aged 27 and from Straight Lane, Barnsley, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Malicious Communications Act and two under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act at Sheffield Magistrates last month.

The offences investigated by officers from the NCA’s Operation Stovewood related to a series of Facebook posts in which she identified two women granted anonymity and a third she wrongly thought was involved.

The magistrate today (6 February) imposed a six-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, ordered Evans to do 60 hours of unpaid work and pay £100 compensation to each woman.

NCA Senior Investigating Officer Philip Marshall said: “Victims are our first priority in Operation Stovewood.

“We recognise it takes an awful lot of bravery to come forward in these situations, and those who do are rightly offered protection by law.

“Anyone who seeks to intimidate victims or undermine our investigations in this way should know that we will take action against them.”

Liz Fell, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS, said: “By publishing these names Ann Marie Evans identified those who have a right to lifelong anonymity and caused them considerable distress.  

“We want to reassure victims that where there is sufficient evidence, we will prosecute those who breach the automatic legal right to anonymity.”

06 February 2023

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