Man jailed for blackmailing female student into sending nude photos of herself

Man jailed for blackmailing female student into sending nude photos of herself
AFP file photo

He was a married man who befriended a 17-year-old student via a chat app and they had sex after getting into a relationship.

When the student decided to avoid him, Ramesh Segaran, a Malaysian living in Singapore, blackmailed her into sending him nude photographs of herself, and disseminated them to at least 20 other men on WeChat.

On Wednesday (3 January), Ramesh, now 31, was jailed 28 weeks after he pleaded guilty in the State Courts to a count of criminal intimidation and a count of distributing obscene material. Two other similar charges were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

The court heard that Ramesh, a father of a one-year-old son, befriended the victim sometime in February 2016 on WeChat. The victim cannot be named due to a gag order.

About one month later, Ramesh and the victim entered into a relationship. Ramesh constantly pressured the victim to send him her nude photographs. The victim acceded to his requests and they exchanged their nude photographs with each other.

The two ended up having consensual sex after meeting for the first time in the victim’s house, when her parents were not around. Feeling guilty, the victim started avoiding Ramesh for about three months but was constantly harassed by him to meet up.

On 7 September 2016, Ramesh threatened to expose their sexual relationship to the victim’s parents unless she sent him more nude photographs with her face visible. Fearing that he would so, the victim sent a topless photograph of herself, a photograph of her private parts and a photograph of her buttocks.

Ramesh continued to harass the victim and later demanded a threesome. He had informed an unknown male via WeChat that they could have a threesome with the victim as he had blackmailed her.

When the victim rejected Ramesh’s request, he threatened to send her nude photographs to her parents. The victim later blocked his number to prevent him from harassing her further.

Later in the month, the victim received up to 20 friend requests in WeChat from male strangers.

One of the strangers told her that a male by the user name of “Ramesh” had circulated her nude photographs, name and contact details in a WeChat public group, which was set up to share pornographic videos and nude photographs.

The victim lodged a police report and Ramesh was later arrested.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chee Ee Ling called for a minimum seven-month jail term. She noted that the accused continued to contact the victim despite being told by an investigation officer not to do so.

Ramesh had called the victim, pleading for her to withdraw the case. He also apologised to her, saying that he needed to take care of his son.

Ramesh’s lawyer, Ashwin Ganapathy, asked for a jail term of five-and-a-half-months. He said that his client, a former technician, is currently unemployed and has expressed remorse for his actions.

“The experience has taken a toll on my client. He is no longer living with his family and his wife plans to divorce him,” the lawyer said.

For criminal intimidation, Ramesh could have been jailed up to two years and/or fined. For distributing obscene material, he could have been jailed up to three months and/or fined.