Sister of webcam girl ‘left to die’ after extreme online sex game makes law plea

The sister of a young graduate who died when a 'degrading' webcam role play went wrong wants strict new webcamming porn laws.

Graduate Hope Barden, 21, had been working in the online adult film industry as a way of boosting her income as a carer for people with learning difficulties.

Early last year she struck up a working relationship with a "snuff" porn collector online.

Her 45-year-old client Jerome Dangar, who had been paying her for months to perform escalating levels of X-rated content, asked her to perform a "dangerous" sexual act on live webcam.

A coroner found she died from asphyxia while performing the act.

Police say Dangar was online while she died during "sexually-related role play" and he made no attempt to alert the emergency services "to the danger he had put her in".

Miss Barden's mother says Dangar had been paying her daughter to perform sexual acts online, and over a three-month period it "escalated into degrading and dangerous situations".

Tragically, Miss Barden's flatmate discovered her body at their home in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, on March 15, 2018.

Police were considering a charge of manslaughter against Dangar.

Last month an inquest ruled that her death was 'unlawful' but Dangar could not be charged as he died in his prison cell in April 2019 after being convicted of possessing extreme pornographic images.

Hope's sister Lily, from Penzance, Cornwall, says her family was devastated by what happened.

She said: "It started when Hope was still living down here in Penzance.

"It's not a joke, but the things he (Dangar) was saying we were laughing at.

"I know he was asking her to blow fag smoke down the camera and paid her £50 for that, which is bizarre.

"Then he was asking for very random and extreme things. He was giving her thousands of pounds and she liked designer clothes.

"They weren't in an online relationship. It was the money and I think it just escalated too quickly. She had no mental health issues. It was a terrible accident, which that sick man didn't report."

Lily said specific guidelines were needed in the online sex industry where the performer and the punter clearly understood what was and was not acceptable by law.

"The main thing that isn't acceptable is being able to watch someone [potentially] die on webcam and then not do anything about it," she told the BBC.

She said Dangar had a "duty of care" by contacting the emergency services when Hope became incapacitated, which could have saved her sister's life.

"He thrives off stuff like this. He wanted her to do this and it went terribly wrong," she said. "It was going to be a landmark case."

"If there's anything positive that can come out of this ridiculous situation it's that young girls should be sensible and think about people you are going to hurt from your actions or just don't do it," she said.

"But I feel there should be some sort of electronic contract between the performer and the person paying or watching that they both understand – like terms and conditions.

"If the performer is agreeing and contracted with whatever it is, they know what they're doing, and the guys or girls who are watching know what they are getting themselves into as well.

"That way there's no wires crossed."

The family have shared a report on the subject with every UK police force, to assist officers in dealing with similar cases sensitively "should a dreadful situation like this arise again".

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