Woman feared nude pics posted online

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 14:17 25/08/2014

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A Filipino migrant alleges she was blackmailed into having sex by a man who threatened to reveal naked photos he found on her laptop computer.

Liam James Purcell, 43, faces four charges at the four-day trial, which began before Justice Cameron Mander in the High Court at Christchurch today.

Purcell denies two charges of having unlawful sexual connection with the woman knowing that she had been induced to consent by a threat. He also pleaded not guilty to two charges of blackmailing her for sex by threatening to disclose the intimate pictures.

The woman said she met Purcell when her laptop broke after she recently arrived in Christchurch with her partner.

Purcell, whom she initailly met online, offered to fix the computer. During their online exchanges, she sent him a clothed picture of herself, and he sent her a naked picture.

Purcell found naked photos of the woman with her partner on her computer. He also found pictures of her with previous partners.

He threatened to tell her partner about the photos and that he would post them online.

She said Purcell took her into a storeroom at the workplace. She had felt "helpless and in danger". Purcell had helped to undress her, then the first sexual connection took place. The other sex act took place the next day.

"He said he would post my naked pictures on line, and I believed he would do that," she said.

Defence counsel James Rapley told the jury that Purcell admitted that sexual activity took place but he said it was consensual. Both of them were in relationships at the time. Flirting and "sexual communication" had been happening between them online.

He told the jury to be careful in considering the evidence, to ensure that they set aside feelings of sympathy, prejudice or morality.

"This is not a court of morals, but a court of laws."

He said the key issues for the jury to consider would be consent and credibility.

The trial is expected to finish on Thursday.

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