Man spared jail after underage girl’s web of deceit

At-risk adult Sebastian Bickerton-King was deceived into a relationship with a girl who told him she was 16 when she was actually 15.
VULNERABLE: At-risk adult Sebastian Bickerton-King was deceived into a relationship with a girl who told him she was 16 when she was actually 15. Courtesy: Raymonds Press.

23-year-old Sebastian Bickerton-King has been spared jail, following an ordeal where he was lied to by his girlfriend that she was at the age of consent, when she was actually 15.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lured Sebastian Bickerton-King into exchanging sexual images with her by convincing him she was at the age of consent. Bickerton-King has Asperger syndrome, leading to the relationship becoming obsessional in nature.

After Sebastian Bickerton-King disclosed the images to the girl’s family following her threatening to kill herself, he was charged with offences relating to child pornography and revenge porn.

In defence of Sebastian Bickerton-King, his Counsel Caroline Bradley said: “The defendant had engrossed himself in the internet environment. In his own mind he was in love with the girl and he thought she was in love with him. He felt hugely rejected when she ended their relationship. She was vulnerable and so was he.

Judge Jonathan Bennett sitting at Derby Crown Court accepted from Bickerton-King’s defence that the “victim was 15 but I accept you (he) believed she was 16.” Judge Jonathan Bennett awarded against Bickerton-King a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered him to enrol in a three-year sex offenders’ treatment program and awarded a five-year sexual harm prevention order against him.

E-dating warning after suspected rape

Those looking for love online are today being warned by Humberside Police to take precautions after Hull man was arrested on suspicion of raping a woman he met via social media.

The 47-year-old was arrested in connection with the allegation on Tuesday, March 7. He has been released on police bail to a date in April, pending further enquiries.

Today officers from the force cyber crime unit are highlighting the case as part of an ongoing drive to highlight the potential dangers around online dating.

A recent report from the National Crime Agency’s Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) identified a significant increase in the number of reports to UK police forces about serious sexual assaults carried out by offenders who have met their victims through online dating.

Most of these assaults take place the first time they meet face-to-face and it is feared that potential victims are being lured into letting their guard down – not thinking of those they meet as strangers.

Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby is from Humberside Police. “Online relationships tend to progress far more quickly that those offline, as people feel more able to be more open and emotionally honest,” he said. “The result of this is that individuals may then have a sense of being at more advanced stage in the relationship by the time they meet the person face-to-face and no longer regard them as a stranger, even though it is the first time they are meeting.
This can lead to individuals taking more risks than they otherwise would and putting themselves into more vulnerable situations.

Jonathan Bishop is an e-dating expert. “My research concurs with comments of Humberside Police that relationships can progress faster online and this is one of the causes of serious crime resulting from online dating,” he said. “My first romantic relationship started online, but today one has to be extra careful as the Internet is much more widely used.
Many years ago when I reported to the police people trying to extort money from me through online dating, it was simply recorded as an incident, so it is good that Humberside Police and the National Crime Agency are starting to take the issue more seriously.

eHarmony’s new site looks to match users with perfect career

Starting March 30, online dating site eHarmony hopes to do for careers what it has done for dating: help people make the perfect match.

CAREER MINDED: eHarmony hopes to do for careers what it has done for dating: - help people make the perfect match. Courtesy:
CAREER MINDED: eHarmony hopes to do for careers what it has done for dating: – help people make the perfect match. Courtesy:

eHarmony has been working on the career-matching site for more than two years now. Dr Neil Clark Warren is an eHarmony founder and CEO. “We want to bring companies candidates that have been fully vetted,” he said.

According to eHarmony’s website 438 people get married every day as a result of eHarmony’s compatibility matching.

Now eHarmony is turning its sights on matching people with jobs, and companies with applicants. Elevated Careers states it intends to use proven technology to bring employers the most compatible candidates, matched on skills, company culture and personality.

In 2014, Dan Erickson, director of special projects and general manager of Elevated Careers said that instead of sending companies thousands of resumes, they want to provide a daily list of candidates who match with a company. This includes not just with the jobs and skills area, but with company culture, work values and knowledge.

Elevated Careers will pair applicants and jobs based not just on skills and qualifications but also cultural fit and the personality traits of the applicants’ supervisor and potential closest co-workers.

Man who conned women he met on internet dating sites ordered to pay more than £179,000 under Proceeds of Crime Act

Matthew Bart Samuels, from Broadway Grove, Worcester, was ordered to pay a total of £105,040 to his victims within three months, when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court at a confiscation hearing.

Matthew Bart Samuels’s benefit from criminality was heard to be £179,152.23 and compensation from confiscation was sought for his victims. Samuels’ available amount was shown to be £105,040 and he was given three months to pay this figure.

If Matthew Bart Samuels fails to pay in time he will face a two year prison sentence. If at any point in the future Matthew Bart Samuels is deemed to have further assets, he will be taken back to court to recover further sums until the confiscation order, which totals £179,152.23, has been settled in full.

The 51 year-old was sentenced to eight years in prison in the same court in October 2015 after being found guilty of eight counts of fraud. He had taken advantage of women looking for love online, conning them, and in one case one of their relatives, out of a total of approximately £185,000.

Matthew Bart Samuels was also found not guilty of two counts of fraud last year. On one other count of fraud the jury was directed by the judge to find him not guilty.

Matthew Bart Samuels had previously pleaded guilty to impersonating a barrister on December 8th 2014.

In October 2015, Matthew Bart Samuels was sentenced to eight years in prison in total for the fraud offences and three months in prison for impersonating a barrister, to run concurrently. An indefinite restraining order was also put in place preventing Matthew Bart Samuels from contacting any of his victims.

The offences by Matthew Bart Samuels were carried out between January 2011 and March 2015 and the victims include four women who he met through internet dating websites. A further fraud offence related to the mother of a woman that Matthew Bart Samuels met online, who he defrauded by a total of £110,000 after advising her that he could invest her money for greater return. In fact he pocketed the money and spent it on himself.

Matthew Bart Samuels met women over the internet, through dating websites. He would use different methods, including driving expensive cars, wining and dining them and persuading them he was a millionaire. Then, once he had gained their trust, he would steal from them.

On some occasions Matthew Bart Samuels would persuade women to set up car companies as the legal head, whilst he ran them. He would also use finance deals and steal from his victims, eventually leaving when the debt ran too high. In some instances, he would persuade women to invest money with him or help him out of a fictional financial crisis, promising to pay them back, which he did not. Instead, he would spend their money on expensive cars for his own use.

Despite the lifestyle he portrayed, the reality was very different. Expensive cars were leased by Matthew Bart Samuels for the sole purpose of tricking women.

Matthew Bart Samuels managed simultaneous relationships, sometimes seeing three women in one day, and used his job as a car dealer to cover his absences from home from his then partner, who often worked away herself and did not know about his fraudulent activities.

Matthew Bart Samuels would sometimes use the names Matthew Copeland and David Copeland and has also falsely stated that he was a barrister, solicitor, financial advisor, a volunteer who assisted offenders and a medical surgeon specialising in knee surgery.

DI Mark Glazzard is from West Mercia Police. “The people who were heartlessly defrauded by Samuels showed great courage by speaking out about their experiences in order to bring him to justice,” he said. “The effect of his crimes was not just financial; there was also a significant emotional impact for his victims.
Samuels did not just take their money, he also callously abused the trust and confidence they had placed in him.
I hope that this week’s confiscation order provides some comfort for his victims and goes some way to compensating them for the financial and emotional hardship Samuels caused.
It should also send out a clear message to all criminals that crime does not pay.

Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police say they are committed to raising awareness of internet-related crime and giving people the knowledge they need to stay safe online.

The Impacts of Alcohol on E-Dating Activity: Increases in Flame Trolling Corresponds with Higher Alcohol Consumption

The Impacts of Alcohol on E-Dating Activity: Increases in Flame Trolling Corresponds with Higher Alcohol Consumption

Jason Barratt and Jonathan Bishop


The impact of alcohol on Internet use is relatively unexplored. This chapter presents the results of a study conducted over a period of 1 year, which investigated whether persons who stated on their e-dating profile that they drank alcohol were more or less likely to contact another person. The study found that increased consumption of alcohol resulted in a person posting more flames (i.e. abusive posts) to their target. No such difference existed in terms of whether a person drank alcohol in relation to whether they had a low education, spoke more about themselves, their target, or whether they posted kudos to their targets. The chapter concludes that further research is needed to uncover the effects of alcohol on participation in social networking services, so that young people, like Liam Stacey and Isabella Sorley are not unfairly targeted for Internet trolling.

Full Text


Jason Barratt and Jonathan Bishop (2015). The Impacts of Alcohol on E-Dating Activity: Increases in Flame Trolling Corresponds with Higher Alcohol Consumption. In J. Bishop (Ed.), Psychological and Social Implications Surrounding Internet and Gaming Addiction (pp. 186-197). IGI Global, Hershey, PA. Available online at:

12 years jail for knifeman who struck in street and park

A “dangerous” man has been jailed for 12 years for two vicious knife attacks – including one in which he teamed up with his girlfriend to lure a Londoner to a Birmingham park with a series of flirtatious Facebook posts.

Afahan Hussain slashed a man across the face with a Stanley knife in Soho Road last August in an unprovoked attack just weeks after a park robbery where he threatened a man – tempted from the capital by Hussain’s callous partner Haseena Aziz – with a meat cleaver.

The Londoner met 28-year-old honey-trap Aziz in parkland near the Handsworth flyover on 15 June last year having been persuaded to make the trip north under the impression she was keen on striking up a relationship. But shortly after taking a bench seat Hussain – who was lying in wait – charged at the 25-year-old, punched and head-butted him, before holding a cleaver to his face and demanding his phone and cash.

Phone and social media enquiries led West Midlands Police detectives to the pair who were later charged with robbery. They were found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court on 2 June. The jury heard how cruel Aziz laughed as she watched the attack and then waded in herself by kicking the man in the groin – and both later sent texts mocking him for falling for their set-up.

And just weeks after the park robbery gold-toothed Hussain slashed a stranger across the face in a seemingly motiveless street attack. He shoulder barged a man to the floor in Soho Road in the early hours of August 7 and as the 27-year-old scrambled to his feet Hussain pulled out a knife and slashed him down the left side of his face, severing an artery and narrowly missing his left eye.

Bleeding heavily, he ran to Thornhill Road police station for help and firearms officers were deployed to provide emergency Fast Aid – an advanced form of first aid that’s a feature of all armed police training – before paramedics arrived. They helped stem the bleeding and doctors later said the attack could have proved fatal due to the significant blood loss.

A week later the victim spotted Hussain through a bedroom window whilst recuperating at his girlfriend’s house in Hockley’s South Road. He watched as the 29-year-old entered a neighbouring house and, minutes later, police officers arrived to find him lounging on a sofa.

Hussain denied the offence but the victim’s recollection of his attacker’s distinctive gold tooth proved crucial and today (August 1) he was jailed for a total of 12 years having been found guilty of wounding with intent to cause GBH and robbery. Aziz was found guilty of robbery and jailed for four years.

Detective Constable Sara Caldwell investigated the Soho Road attack. “It was completely unprovoked…the man was walking with a friend to a local shop to buy cigarettes when Hussain deliberately barged into him and lashed out with a knife,” she said. “The victim suffered significant blood loss, nerve damage and has lost sensation on the left side of his face. It was an outrageous attack.
“Anyone who carries a knife in public is potentially putting themselves and others in danger and can expect to be jailed, even if they don’t strike out with it in anger.
“The judge described Hussain as a dangerous man and a risk to the public…he will rightly spend many years behind bars and be subject to an extended licence period upon his eventual release.”

Unemployed Hussain accepted being shown on CCTV in Soho Road at the time of the attack – just after 1am on Wednesday 7 August – but denied being involved or seeing the man being set upon. However, he was found guilty by a unanimous jury after a five-day trial in February at Birmingham Crown Court; sentencing was delayed due to him standing trial on June 2 alongside Aziz for the Handsworth park robbery.

Understanding and facilitating the development of social networks in online dating communities: A Case Study and Model

Understanding and facilitating the development of social networks in online dating communities: A Case Study and Model

Jonathan Bishop


Online dating is a big business, allowing people from the comfort of their own home to view and read about potential mates all around the world. Different dating sites offer different services. However, it is not yet commonplace for websites dedicated to dating to use the social networking tools used by popular online communities, such as those that use the personal homepage and message board genres. The Ecological Cognition Framework (ECF) provides a theoretical model regarding online dating communities’ behavior and relationship development. A model based on the ECF is proposed and provides a basis for developing online dating services that effectively support relationship development. Two investigations are presented in this chapter, one that uses a case study approach to identify and describe online dating services from the perspective of a specific case and another that assess the effectiveness of existing online dating services based on the guidelines developed from the case study. The case study provides a useful insight into the nature of social networking from the perspective of a specific case, which led to guidelines for developing e-dating systems that when evaluated showed that the most popular social networking services also score well against the criteria proposed in those guidelines.

Full Text


Jonathan Bishop (2008). Understanding and facilitating the development of social networks in online dating communities: A Case Study and Model. In: C. Romm-Livermore & K. Setzekorn (eds.). Social Networking Communities and EDating Services: Concepts and Implications. IGI Global: New York. Available online at:

Expert warns of online romance dangers

Online Romance Week is upon us again, and experts are warning Internet users to be cautious about who they chat to online.

Online community expert Jonathan Bishop warns of the dangers of online romances, “Whilst it is proven that speaking to someone online can enhance face-to-face relationships, people are not always who they say they are”, he explains, “The world is full of stories of people who’s lives have been almost ruined because of a relationship that started online”.

Mr. Bishop offers a number of suggestions to people wanting to meet in person someone they have spoken to online: “If you’re absolutely certain you want to meet up, its important that you meet in a public place during the day and always let someone know where you are, or if possible take someone along with you”.

Online Romance Week runs from Friday 13 May to Thursday 19 May and can be a time where lasting relationships are formed through the medium of the Internet.