City worker 'posted mocked-up pictures of colleague to porn websites'

Fund manager Davide Buccheri Outside Hendon Magistrates Court. Photo credit: Helen William/PA Wire
Fund manager Davide Buccheri Outside Hendon Magistrates Court. Photo credit: Helen William/PA Wire

A worker at a top investment management company posted mocked-up pictures of a female colleague to porn websites when she rejected his romantic advances, a court has heard.

Davide Buccheri, 25, is accused of carrying out "a calculated and malicious" harassment campaign over seven months while working at M&G, in the heart of the City of London.

Prosecutor Aimee Emby told London's Hendon Magistrates' Court that Buccheri took images from his colleague's social media accounts and downloaded pornographic images of women of similar build from the internet before telling her bosses, in a bid to discredit her.

Ms Emby said: "She felt intimidated by his behaviour. The defendant had a considerable romantic interest.

"Following his rejection he pursued an increasingly complex and insidious amount of harassment."

It is claimed Buccheri used the firm's internal whistleblowing system to tell bosses about the images.

Buccheri, of Bologna, Italy, has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of harassment between September 9 2016 and May 29 2017.

The pictures were allegedly edited and cropped to make them look like the alleged victim before being put in galleries on porn websites.

Buccheri showed an "excessive" interest in the woman after she joined the firm as an intern in June 2016, and they were in touch via the internal messaging system, according to Ms Emby.

The female colleague at first turned Buccheri down when he invited her for a coffee, but later changed her mind.

She then made repeated attempts to postpone the coffee which showed her reluctance to meet him, the court was told.

He also asked for her telephone number but she refused.

Ms Emby told the court that Buccheri's actions were aimed at "destroying her credibility and reputation and it did cause her harassment, alarm and distress".

Giving evidence from behind a curtain so she would not have to see her alleged harasser, the woman said she had felt "devastated, and extremely surprised" when she saw the images.

She spoke of having an "uneasy feeling" about Buccheri and wanted to keep him at arm's length.

Trying to restart her career after the alleged harassment was "very difficult", she told the court.

Saying that her confidence is "low" she added: "Networking at professional parties with men in the business is hard in trying to trust my instincts."

Offending images appeared on galleries owned by a user called Flying Gerbil, the court heard.

It is claimed that Buccheri obtained images of the woman from her social media accounts along with pornographic images from the internet of women with a similar build and appearance. He then cropped the pornographic images to remove the faces, the prosecution claims.

It is alleged these images were used by Buccheri, along with genuine images of the woman, to create multiple galleries on a pornographic website.

Detective constable David Blight, of the City of London police cyber crime unit, had access in September 2017 to the laptop seized from Buccheri.

He told the court: "I can say that he used the Facebook pages where the images were contained. There were images uploaded to the pornographic website which appeared to have originated from Facebook."

A search term including the woman's name and the word "slut" had been used, he told the court.

Police also found a file which had her name and the word "compromising" on it.

The hearing was adjourned to Thursday at 10am.