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Launceston teenager Ryan Furse shared indecent image of girl on Instagram

By CMJohannaCarr  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

A LAUNCESTON teenager who published an explicit image of a teenage girl on an internet photo sharing website has been told to “pull his socks up” and control his anger.

Ryan Furse, 18, of St Johns Road, distributed the indecent image of a child to a social media site in a fit of anger after she refused to comply with his demands.

At Truro Crown Court on Wednesday, Phillip Lee, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Furse posted the sordid image of the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on October 9, last year to the photo sharing website Instagram.

The image – which was said to be at Level 4 on the scale police use to categorise such material, with five being the highest – showed the girl performing a sexual act with a can of hairspray.

Mr Lee said the image was online for at least 40 minutes before Furse removed it and was “tagged” with the girl’s name but that it was impossible to say how many people had viewed it.

He said: “One 16-year-old described how she had followed Ryan Furse’s profile.

“[She said] I was shocked that somebody would upload a picture for anyone to see’.”

The court heard Furse had previous convictions for criminal damage and two charges of battery, which involved him punching people in the face and breaking their noses.

Furse was placed on a suspended sentence by magistrates just days before he uploaded the indecent image and that offence meant he was in breach of the suspended sentence, the court heard.

Barry Hilliard, defending, said Furse had not realised uploading the picture was a criminal offence when he did it and that although this was the first case of its type he had been involved in, he did not think it would be the last.

He said: “If nothing else [this case] may well benefit other young people who have photos on their phones.”

Mr Hilliard added: “He had an apprenticeship which he lost.

“He is a sex offender and people don’t like sex offenders.”

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, said some material posted on social media could go viral and that images could be seen by thousands if not millions of people and that Furse had done it in a “fit of pique”.

He said: “It was unpleasant, it was unkind and it was humiliating for her and you knew perfectly well, Ryan, that you should not have done it.”

Judge Harvey Clark added that Furse had not started his adult life very well.

Sentencing Furse to four months in a young offenders’ institution, suspended for two years, he said: “Pull your socks up. You have got to get to grips with the future and try to avoid losing your temper.”

Furse, who pleaded guilty to distributing an indecent image of a child at an earlier hearing, was ordered to be under the supervision of the probation service for 18 months, take part in 17 sessions of the Thinking Skills programme and pay an £80 victim surcharge.

He was also subjected to a three-day curfew from 7pm to 6am for breaching his previous suspended sentence and ordered to forfeit his iPhone and iPad.

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