A Morecambe woman told how she fled town after a cheating plumber and his scorned wife set up hundreds of fake sex site profiles
branding her a prostitute.
Rachel Lyne, who had an affair with Richard Holman not realising he was married, was so distressed by the seven-year hate campaign she moved 350 miles to Cornwall to escape a stream of men knocking on her door expecting sex.
A friend, who was left shaken and humiliated after being mistaken for her pimp, even resorted to pinning a notice on the house they shared to warn would-be punters their home was not a brothel.
Now divorced middle-aged couple Richard and Amanda Holman, from Scorton, near Lancaster, have been jailed for 26 weeks each after being found guilty of harassing Miss Lyne and her and her friend Stuart Walker.
Rachel, 48, said: “It’s gone on for seven years of my life. I had to move from one end of the country to another. It destroyed my relationship with my parents. Friends and people I had known all my life were looking at me sideways. You can imagine the humiliation and embarrassment that it has brought to my family.”
The drama began when Rachel’s boiler broke down in 2007.
After striking up a relationship with the charming plumber Richard Holman, who came to carry out repairs at her central Morecambe home, the pair dated for just four weeks before things turned sour when Rachel discovered he was married.
Rachel was branded a “homewrecker” by furious Amanda Holman, who answered her husband’s phone when Rachel called to see where he was.
Shortly after their romance was discovered, parcels containing lingerie and frumpy cardigans started arriving at Rachel’s home and place of work.
The harassment then escalated and Rachel started seeing up to four men a day turning up at her home expecting sexual services after hundreds of fake online dating and sex profiles were set up in her name.
Rachel’s parents and neighbours received letters alleging Miss Lyne was a prostitute, a drug dealer and a benefit cheat and on one occasion her pet dog went missing, only to be found 400 miles away.
Amanda and Richard Holman, of Long Lane, Scorton, denied harassment but were convicted by the bench at Preston Magistrates’ Court.
In 2011 Rachel moved to Cornwall with her friend Stuart Walker to make a fresh start. But in March 2012 a man came to her door believing he had been speaking to her on an online sex site.
Mr Walker sent the man away but later that day trawled the internet to discover profiles had been set up in Rachel’s name on Google plus, Twitter, Jumble, Smooch.com and numerous adult and dating websites.
Scott Ainge, prosecuting, said: “She isn’t and never has been a prostitute and there is a rift between herself and her parents who believed the information they were being fed.
“People she had known for years started to avoid her in the street.
“The stress, humiliation and shame caused her to feel afraid of leaving her home as she felt people were talking about her behind her back.
“Some of the men (who visited) were aggressive and angry at having been misled. Some had travelled some distance. She was issued with a panic alarm and advised to wear it 24/7.
“She was mortified and her mental health deteriorated.”
The police were called and the profiles were traced to Mrs Holman’s IP address in Lancashire.
Rachel said: “It’s been very, very traumatic. Men were visiting the house, I was having panic attacks and anxiety issues. I’ve been registered disabled because of the impact.
“There were 157 adult websites offering my services as prostitute when I wasn’t one. I have never been a prostitute.
“She’s a coward, to do it on the internet, behind closed doors, thinking she could get away with it for this length of time. I am very withdrawn now, I’m apprehensive, I am not as confident as I was.”
Mr Walker, 51, said he and his two adult disabled daughters were also subjected to malicious and vindictive harassment, which became so bad he tried to take his own life.
He said: “Picking on me is one thing, but my two disabled daughters is another thing. I was horrified.
“I don’t think the sentences are long enough for what they have put Rachel through. It was seven years of her life. They should have got seven years. I believe very strongly in an eye for an eye.”
Anthony Parkinson, defending, said many of the incidents took place prior to the period between 2012 and 2013 for which Mr and Mrs Holman had been convicted of harassing Miss Lyne and Mr Walker.
It is understood the Holmans intend to appeal against their conviction.