Webcam girl died in ‘degrading’ sex act

A woman suffocated to death as she performed "degrading" sex acts online for a "snuff porn" fan, an inquest heard today.

Hope Barden had engaged in acts that became increasingly dangerous over three months - before her body was found by her flatmate last year.

The 21-year-old was a care worker but had been earning extra cash on the side as a webcam girl.

Hope, from Staffordshire in the UK, was in an online relationship with Jerome Dangar - a 45-year-old pub landlord who lived over 400km away in Cornwall, The Sun reports.

Police say Dangar was online as Hope died during "sexually-related role play" but made no attempt to alert emergency services "to the danger he had put her in".

Hope Barden, 21, died when she suffocated herself to death during a sex act for a webcam client. Picture: Facebook/HopeBarden
Hope Barden, 21, died when she suffocated herself to death during a sex act for a webcam client. Picture: Facebook/HopeBarden

'SNUFF PORN' STASH

Dangar was arrested in connection with her death, and police found a stash of abuse videos, that showed threats to life and serious genital injuries.

He was convicted of possession of extreme pornographic images in January 2019 and jailed for 15 months.

But he was found dead in prison before he could face charges over Hope's death.

Hope's family has today revealed their devastation as a coroner returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Her mum Kate Barden said she was devastated by her "beautiful" and "intelligent" daughter's death - and at the injustice the man involved would never face justice.

She said: "Hope had been earning extra money working in the online adult film industry.

"Unregulated, this industry serves no one except those who wish to perpetrate violence against women.

Webcam girl, 21, suffocated herself to death as ‘snuff porn’ sicko encouraged her to perform a ‘degrading’ sex act online. Picture: Facebook/HopeBarden
Webcam girl, 21, suffocated herself to death as ‘snuff porn’ sicko encouraged her to perform a ‘degrading’ sex act online. Picture: Facebook/HopeBarden

"Hope became the subject of interest of a regular user of the site who paid her to perform sexual acts via the internet, which over three months of contact escalated into degrading and dangerous situations.

"We are sorely disappointed that this case can no longer bring any legal justice for Hope."

Hope had just finished her foundation degree in adolescent mental health and was working with people with learning disabilities. She had also just returned from Norway.

A post mortem found the young woman had died of asphyxiation before being found in her home on March 15, 2018.

Police launched an investigation into the tragedy, arresting Dangar two months later.

They submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider charging Dangar with Hope's manslaughter, alleging he had been online when she died and didn't call for help.

But he was found dead in his prison cell in April this year.

Jerome Dangar had been paying for Hope to perform a sex act when she died. Police said he would have faced charges but died in prison while jailed for a separate offence. Picture: Staffordshire Police
Jerome Dangar had been paying for Hope to perform a sex act when she died. Police said he would have faced charges but died in prison while jailed for a separate offence. Picture: Staffordshire Police

MORE VICTIMS POSSIBLE

A pathologist who examined Dangar's extreme pornography collection said there was a strong possibility the videos weren't staged and some of the subjects died during the filming process.

This suggests other victim's of Dangar's addiction may lie out there.

Staffordshire Police confirmed the pair had been in contact via an adult website, but the act that led to her death was a "private arrangement conducted on social media".

Hope's mum Kate said: "Had this gone to court, this would be a landmark case, the first of its kind in the UK.

"As it is, we will be issuing our report and findings to every police force in the UK in the trust that should a dreadful situation like this arise again, there is a record of how we approached such a sensitive and difficult issue.

"Anyone with daughters or other relatives involved in this terrible industry must be aware of the risk of harm. A duty of care exists in any relationship.

"If someone is obviously in danger, one has a legal obligation to take steps to help.

"In this tragic case, Hope was left to die. Hope's family and friends have been devastated."

Hope’s family are devastated over her death. Picture: Facebook/HopeBarden
Hope’s family are devastated over her death. Picture: Facebook/HopeBarden

Detective Inspector John Quilty, from Staffordshire CID, said: "The death of Dangar ultimately prevented prosecutors from charging him in connection with Hope's death as a result of sexually related role play.

"This type of online sexual activity is extremely dangerous, and the repeated persuasion and dangerous requests that Dangar placed on Hope ultimately led to her death.

"Hope was a 21-year-old woman and her death was tragic. Throughout the investigation our officers have remained in contact with Hope's family and have updated them with details. Our thoughts remain with them.

"We are also grateful for the support from Hope's friends, as well as her family."

Insp Quilty said Staffordshire Police could continue to investigate any similar behaviour, saying it should send "a strong deterrent message to those who engage in such dangerous sexual acts".

 

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence or sexual assault, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

 

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission


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