Thousands of revenge porn images and videos of women across Britain are found online

Thousands of women across the UK have fallen victim to a disturbing website which is sharing intimate images of them, it has been revealed today.

Explicit photos and videos of unsuspecting women have been leaked to the website, Mega.NZ, which has since removed the link to the material.

Users on the site have categorised women by the town, cities and counties they live in then included subcategories with their names.

The images and videos are then easily shareable by users.

The site is a reboot of file sharing site Megaupload, which was founded by German-Finnish internet mogul Kim Dotcom. The internet mogul lost an appeal in New Zealand against extradition to the United States for prosecution on criminal copyright infringement and related charges.

The site has categorised women by the town, cities and counties they live in then included subcategories with their names

The site has categorised women by the town, cities and counties they live in then included subcategories with their names

The site has categorised women by the town, cities and counties they live in then included subcategories with their names

Revenge porn: What is the law in the UK?

Revenge porn laws came into affect in the UK in 2015 as part of the Criminal Justice and Court Act.

The Act makes it a criminal offence for a person to: ‘disclose a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made (a) without the consent of the individual who appears, and (b) with the intention of causing that individual distress’.

It means those who maliciously share sexually explicit images without the subject’s consent could face up to two years in prison.

The law covers the sharing of images both on and offline. Images posted to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are covered by the offence, as are those that are shared via text message, email, on a website or via physical distribution.

The offence covers photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed.

Mikala Monsoon, 23, from Glasgow, discovered her photos were on the site after being sent a link by an old school friend.

She says someone uploaded intimate photos of her when she was 17 and they have resurfaced online over the last six years.

Ms Monsoon has since changed her name and moved away from her home in a bid to escape.

She said: ‘I’ve been so mortified, upset and anxious but now I am just angry. I’ve done my best to separate myself from it but last Wednesday I got a message from a girl I went to school with. She told me I was on this website.

‘My pictures have been on Reddit and porn sites but this website was the biggest collection I’ve seen.’

‘The whole thing is appalling. So many people are driven to such anxiety and a lot of people are finding out about the pictures for the first time. They’re in deep pain.’

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Ms Monsoon reported the site to police in Glasgow last week, but it is still live with all the pictures freely available to download.

The offence of disclosing private sexual images without consent became illegal in 2015 in England and Wales, and carries a maximum sentence of two years.

Alice Ruggles

Alice Ruggles

Trimaan Dhillon

Trimaan Dhillon

Alice Ruggles, 24, (left) was murdered by her former boyfriend Trimaan Dhillon (right) in 2016 after he broke into her flat in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Dhillon had threatened to share images of Miss Ruggles online

Police Scotland confirmed the incident has been reported and ‘enquiries will be carried out’.

Scotland and Northern Ireland introduced legislation outlawing revenge porn in 2016.

Revenge porn is currently categorised as a ‘communications crime’, meaning victims are not granted anonymity.

While no automatic reporting restrictions are in place, victims in revenge porn proceedings can apply to the courts for reporting restrictions to provide lifetime protection from being identified in the media.

Figures obtained from 19 police forces by the BBC under freedom of information laws show that since 2015, the number of cases investigated by police has more than doubled from 852 to 1,853 in 2018/19.

However, in the same time period, the number of charges has dropped by almost a quarter – from 207 to 158.

In the last year, more than a third of victims decided not to proceed with the case.

Campaigners believe this may be because they are not granted anonymity and face having personal details disclosed during any potential court proceedings.

They have also warned that simply threatening to share images should also be classified as a crime.

It comes after Alice Ruggles, 24, was murdered by her former boyfriend Trimaan Dhillon in 2016 after he broke into her flat in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

Dhillon had threatened to share images of Miss Ruggles online.

Her mother, Dr Sue Hills, believes her daughter may have sought help sooner had Dhillon not first threatened her with releasing the photographs.

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