MY SOCIAL NETWORK STALKER: TRUE STORIES – CHANNEL 4

by Lisa McGarry

Ruth Jeffery and her boyfriend Shane Webber seemed a perfectly normal happy couple who talked about a future with marriage and children. They had known each other for ten years, but after they rekindled their relationship from school days in early adulthood, the man Ruth loved began to secretly rip her life apart.

With exclusive access to Ruth and her family, who tell their full story on camera for the first time, this True Stories film unravels Ruth’s prolonged ordeal, which came to a shocking conclusion. For three and a half years Ruth was subjected to emotional and mental abuse at the hands of an unknown stalker. It appeared she was constantly watched and Ruth was pushed to the brink of suicide after suffering the indignity of seeing naked images of her posted on adult websites and distributed to family and friends, including her parents.

When the stalker was finally caught, the revelation of the man’s identity proved as traumatic as what she had already endured. Her tormenter was the person Ruth had confided in the most: her boyfriend. My Social Network Stalker documents the story from Ruth’s perspective, from the first abusive messages she received in 2008 – which she believed were from former school friends, isolating her from almost everyone she had ever known – to the sexually explicit photos and videos Webber circulated on the internet, some of which she is still trying to get taken off, to the extreme distress that caused her depression, symptoms of OCD and eating problems; and to how Webber was finally tracked down as the stalker.

The documentary also examines the possible motivations for Webber’s shocking campaign of abuse on his loving girlfriend. Webber has shown no remorse since his arrest, despite terrorising and humiliating the woman he claimed to love, and in October 2011 he was sentenced to four months in prison: the documentary makers are with Ruth as she and her family prepare for and react to the sentencing. Ruth is in her final year of her degree and slowly rebuilding her life and her relationships. Webber served two months and has been released with a restraining order in place until 2016.

Tonight, Channel 4, 20th February 2012 10pm