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Woman jailed for spoofing text harassment

A Sydney woman has been jailed for relentlessly harassing her former boss using sophisticated phone technology and for framing a co-worker.

Emma Arnold, formerly known as Emma Norman, sent 229 messages to her victim, who cannot be named, from different numbers while pretending to be colleagues and other people she knew.

The messages included threats to her boss’s children and sexual propositions to the company clients, made to look as though they were sent by the woman’s husband.

The 30-year-old pleaded guilty to five counts of using a carriage service to menace, harass and offend, and asked Judge Gina O’Rourke to take other offences into account.

In the District Court on Friday, the judge imposed sentences of three years and two years six months, some of which were backdated, and ordered her release on parole on February 27, 2023.

The judge previously described the conduct as “terrifying” and “extremely upsetting” after the messages turned threatening towards children

One message read: “This is going 2 be the worst Xmas ever for u. U see i no where u live and it is time u paid for what u did 2 my friends. U not believe me I sent ur address,” according to the facts of the case.

She referred to the recent death of a colleague’s father when messaging her: “Where would u like to start I think a good place 2 start would be with u dead daddy.”

Her boss’ mother also received harassing messages including: “Wakey wakey bitch sleeping is a thing of the past for u after you took my friends job.”

Her sentence hearing was told the act of “spoofing”, in which a sender’s information is manipulated to appear as if it’s from a trusted source, was a modern offence and the case was likely to set a precedent.

She was arrested on November 2, 2019, after police officers discovered CCTV footage of her purchasing googly eyes, a meat cleaver, a toy gun and a box which she had planted at her home in an elaborate plot to frame a former colleague.

Despite being sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order in March 2019 for stalking and intimidating her co-worker, she feigned surprise when opening the box with her mother which contained the objects she had purchased and death threats.

Messages Arnold sent to her own phone appeared to be from the colleague and she told police she was the one under attack so they served the woman with an AVO.

“Is this to do with Emma Norman … This woman has been convicted for harassing me … this has been going on for the past two and a half years,” the woman told the officers and gave them a case number for them to investigate but were told they were “too busy to make those inquiries”.

Days later a meat cleaver was found at the home along with more threatening messages about how each of her family member’s would be murdered, supposedly from the same co-worker.

The woman was subsequently arrested and placed in custody for three hours while she explained her history with Norman before being released without further charge.

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