Woman allegedly blackmailed 'too trusting'

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 13:01 26/08/2014

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A lawyer has dissected the online exchanges leading up to two sexual incidents that are now the subject of a blackmail-for-sex trial in the High Court at Christchurch.

The Filipino woman involved claims she was coerced by threats into the sex acts with Liam James Purcell, 43.

She has alleged he threatened to disclose naked photos - including by posting them online - he found after he had offered to fix her laptop computer.

Purcell denies charges of unlawful sexual connection knowing that consent had been induced by a threat, and of blackmail.

The trial before Justice Cameron Mander and a jury was told that there had been online "flirting and sexual communication" between the two before the two incidents where oral sex took place. Purcell says it was consensual sex.

Defence counsel James Rapley questioned the woman in detail about the communications before their meeting, which were mainly through a smartphone app.

He suggested that the references to her being gorgeous, pretty, beautiful, and sexy, and saying he wanted to meet her had indicated that Purcell was interested in her sexually.

"I'm not flirting," she replied. She said she was giving no indication that she was interested in him sexually.

He had sent her a picture of himself naked and with an erection.

She told him, "That's for your girlfriend," and she just ignored that picture.

She later sent him a message saying he was the first "naughty friend" she had since her move to Christchurch. She explained in court that friends could be naughty, exchanging jokes and laughing with each other.

Rapley asked: "He is wanting to meet you. He wants to see your face and body."

The woman replied: "I am probably too naive to know and realise that what this guy is offering is not real friendship."

Rapley: "You didn't think he was interested in you sexually at the time?"

She replied: "I am too trusting. I thought, 'I am going to have another friend in Christchurch'."

She said she was surprised, when she went to his workplace while he was fixing her laptop computer, to discover that he wanted to have sex with her.

The woman has told the court that he showed her naked pictures he had found on the device, and threatened to disclose them or post them online.

"He's not a gentleman," she said. "After what happened to me on that first day, he's not a real friend. He's not a nice guy."

The trial is expected to continue until Thursday.

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