A JUDGE praised the bravery of a woman who reported her "abusive" ex-boyfriend who to the police after he shared an intimate photographs of her.

The Star reported online yesterday as Anthony Ward, 40, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment at Liverpool Crown Court.

He had pleaded guilty to two counts of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress, and to another of causing criminal damage to the front door of the victim's house.

The court heard a victim impact personal statement read by prosecutor Jo Maxwell in which was said the victim had "lived in fear" of Ward, who had a previous conviction for criminal damage involving the same victim in 2016.

"She refers to the previous charge and says 'he never did learn from that, the abuse never stopped, it carried on,'" Ms Maxwell added.

"She lived in fear and stopped speaking to members of her family."

Ward, who shared the intimate image with the victim's brother-in-law and current boyfriend, also held some "financial control" over her.

Ms Maxwell added: "She said in regards to the photograph sent to her new partner 'this has brought great shame and upset to everyone involved and she was told by the defendant that lots of people have seen it and there's f*** all you can do about it'".

During the sentencing hearing, judge Mr Recorder Ford QC said: "She is to be commended for her bravery in reporting this matter to the police and standing up to you, a bully."

Ms Maxwell said to the court that Ward's relationship with his ex-girlfriend had ended in July 2019 but that he "continued to telephone her and send text messages in an effort to rekindle the relationship".

The court was told that the the woman's relationship with Ward, with whom she has a four-year-old boy, was "abusive" and he was "controlling and demeaning" of her.

On September 15, 2019 Ward texted her and then attended her address and "started kicking and banging on the door".

Miss Maxwell added: "During the relationship, the complainant did consent to a photograph being taken which can be rightly described as a sexual photograph.

"Ward continually threatened to send the picture to members of the complainant's family."

She said Ward sent the image to his victim's brother-in-law and on January 22, 2020 to her current boyfriend.

"That time the message also included threats to circulate the image around Croxteth and St Helens".

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The court heard Ward, of Stevenage Close, Sutton Heath, had three previous convictions, including for criminal damage in 2016 to the same victim.

The judge said to Ward: "The nature of your own bullying conduct is exacerbated by the fact that you forced your way first into the house, damaging the door.

"You did so in the presence of your child. I'm aware of how distressed that child was as a result. That seems to me an aggravating feature of this case as is your previous conviction in September 2016 which I am told involved very similar behaviour against the same victim.

"In short, you have continued in an appalling fashion, your behaviour has been abusive, demeaning and controlling.

"She became isolated from her family and to coerce her you exerted some financial control over her".

He refused Ward's defence's request for a suspended sentence to be passed, adding: "In view of your past conduct and the aggravating features I have come to the view this is not a case that justifies a suspended sentence."

Ward was given two concurrent eight-month sentences for the two counts of disclosing the image and a further one month consecutive for the criminal damage.

He was also given a 10-year restraining order.

Defending, Brendan Caville said there was a "realistic prospect of rehabilitation" and asked for credit for Ward's guilty plea.