A RADIO producer stole a Blackburn woman’s internet photos to use on a dating website and then sent out naked pictures of other women pretending to be her.
Stuart Grant, who works for Capital Xtra in London and has rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in pop, used photos of 21-year-old Beckie Livesey to make an online profile.
Miss Livesey, who lives in Willis Road, Feniscowles, was only made aware of Mr Grant’s actions after a computer-savvy IT worker grew suspicious of a ‘girl’ he was talking to online and traced the images back to their original source.
In a statement to the Lancashire Telegraph, Mr Grant has since expressed his shame and apologised ‘unreservedly’ for his actions.
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Police have said his actions fall into a ‘grey area’ and it was not immediately clear whether any crime had been committed.
Miss Livesey, a marketing executive and aspiring model, said she was ‘shocked and scared’ after learning of the fake profile.
She said: “I got a message out the blue while I was at work.
“It was from an IT worker who said he had been chatting to a ‘girl’ online and that her pictures were actually of me - and it went from there.
“I just felt shocked and, when I realised he had sent nude photos of other women from the neck down pretending to be me, I felt scared my reputation was on the line.
“Stuart Grant could have spoken to someone who thought it was genuinely me. It’s quite scary to think someone can easily pretend to be me.
“I’m now changing all my settings on Facebook to private.”
Miss Livesey said the pictures were used to create profiles on dating website Plenty of Fish, as well as social networking site Facebook.
The IT worker said he believed he had been chatting to a girl called Chelly on the site but had grown suspicious, and demanded proof in the form of a photograph of her holding up three fingers to the camera.
What he received was an image of Miss Livesey that had been altered, with three fingers superimposed over a Facebook snap of her lying on a bed.
Miss Livesey said: “The picture he added the hands onto is actually my no-make up selfie I did for cancer awareness. They are not my hands - they’re massive.”
Online images can easily be traced by uploading them to search engine Google, which will try and match it to any identical images already on the internet.
Popular images yield numerous results, but personal, less-common snaps will only result in a few, making them easier to trace.
And while the IT worker was searching for Miss Livesey’s genuine Facebook account in order to tell her about the imposter, he also came across a separate account using her pictures, but in the name of Chelly Chaz Hume.
After investigating further, Miss Livesey, found the culprit was Mr Grant and challenged him on LinkedIn, a social media website used by business professionals for networking.
Miss Livesey, who has not contacted police over the issue, said: “I wanted to go to the bottom of it.
“As soon as I connected with him, he sent me a huge message apologising. He admitted what he did and said sorry.
“I replied saying, ‘well done for being honest but you can’t just pretend to be someone else just because you are a prat’.
“Then he deleted his account.
In his apology to Miss Livesey, Mr Grant admitted he had ‘made some very bad choices’.
He wrote: “What I have done is completely wrong and I absolutely should not have done this.
“I was caught up in a very bad place where my behaviour was wrong. It’s a very long and tragic story and I let things go way beyond where they should.
“What I did was use some of your pictures and create a fake profile. I want to be absolutely clear on this point: It was wrong. I will never do it again. I should never have done it in the first place.
“I can promise with my hand on my heart, this has stopped. I have deleted everything and there are no more fake profiles, photos, or anything, in existence. I want this to be over for good.
“I know you don’t know me but I hope you believe me when I say that my intention was not to hurt anybody. I was deeply in love with someone and behaved out of character and made some very bad choices.
“Using your photos was a horrible thing to do and I would feel pretty awful if someone had done it to me.”
After training to be a radio presenter as an apprentice, Mr Grant went on to Vibe FM. When it was bought by Kiss, he moved to their breakfast slot in the east for nine years.
After a spell as a programme controller at Heart Sussex, he joined London urban station Capital Xtra, where he is a senior producer, according to his LinkedIn profile before it was deactivated.
He has met some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Alicia Keys, Neyo, and Nicki Minaj.
In a statement released to the Lancashire Telegraph, Mr Grant said: “I am incredibly sorry for my actions. I am ashamed, and understand that I've caused upset and therefore apologise unreservedly.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said the issue was a ‘grey area’ and it was not immediately clear whether any crime has been committed.