Victims 'freaked out' by Facebook predator
The internet predator who targeted Christchurch schoolboys invented attractive personas and then killed them off.
Police, who describe the scam as cruel, say the 28-year-old Auckland woman used several fake online profiles – depicting young and pretty women – to befriend unsuspecting high school boys.
Information provided to The Press since the newspaper exposed the scam last week shows that after creating an attractive new profile, the woman would sometimes kill the fictitious person, using some of her other personas to break the news on the girl's Facebook site.
Boys were referred to a tribute-type blog spot for the dead young woman where they could leave messages.
About 40 schoolboy victims of the female Facebook predator have now been identified and police are investigating possible grounds for charging the woman.
She used a handful of false Facebook identities, including Jordz Williams, Laura Jane West, Becca Maria Jullienne and Abby Jane Zoe William.
Auckland mother Sophie Jarrett, 22, said her friend had found a video created for Abby claiming she had died and alerted her to the fact her photographs, some only a month old, had been used.
"It was more or less a memorial video. She had put my face to the name. This person has not only taken my personal photos but also my friends and my daughter, 3, giving my daughter one of her fake names and portraying myself as deceased.
"I am horrified. I feel incredibly violated. This is just so sick."
The video, on YouTube, had comments like "going to miss you" and "like mother like daughter".
"Really disgusting. I'm worried she has more details about me. It's freaking me out."
Her 21-year-old friend Toni Hanham, an early childhood teacher from Hamilton, was the woman whose image was used for the Becca persona which appeared on the front of Saturday's Press. Her face was also used for the Laura West persona. Both were "killed off" by the internet predator.
Hanham told The Press last night she was appalled her image was used to trick the boys.
"It's horrible. I seriously did not know what to do with myself when I found out. I was so shocked."
Her cousin in Christchurch had rung her to tell her she was all over the front page of The Press.
"It's really freaky. She's used my photos to make a whole video. This person is pretty messed up."
Hanham said she now felt like removing her Facebook page and said the episode was a lesson for others.
Jarrett said she had spoken to the Christchurch police.
St Thomas of Canterbury principal Christine O'Brien said some of the boys and their friends had been upset to find their correspondent had died suddenly. The internet predator had killed off three of the personas she had invented.
Some would not believe the personas were a fiction and wanted to continue posting messages on the memorial pages.
In one case the woman had posed as the mother of one of the fictitious girls and told one boy and his family the girl had tried to commit suicide and was in hospital, O'Brien said.
They had booked their airfares and found out about the deception only when they contacted the hospital to arrange the delivery of flowers. The hospital had no-one with the girl's name as a patient.
The family were able to cancel their tickets, but lost $1000.