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How Porn Inspired a 24-Year-Old to Strangle This Teen to Death

By February 25, 2019 No Comments
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Header image credit to the Pearson family.

It was like any other Saturday night in 2016 for Hannah Pearson, 16, who had plans to hang out with friends and celebrate her boyfriend Jed’s 19th birthday at a nearby pub.

The English high school student arrived at the pub near Lincolnshire, a small village community to the east of Nottingham, where she met James Morton for the first time. A towering 6’3,” 24-year old, he was already close friends with Hannah’s boyfriend, and joined in the birthday festivities that night.

Related16-Year-Old Jailed For Trying To Rape Teen Girl After Seeing ‘Fifty Shades’

The trio drank at the pub, moving on to buy alcohol at a nearby convenience store and making plans to hang out at James’ house for the night since his parents were away. Hannah went with James, with the plan of Jed meeting her there that next morning since he had to get home and couldn’t afford the train fare.

Jed kissed Hannah goodbye at the train station, not knowing that he would never see her alive again.

“Sex Game” Gone Wrong

Once the two were at his house, James gave Hannah copious amounts of alcohol, heavily intoxicating her and rendering her completely unconscious. Court papers, reports The Telegraph, reveal that she was likely passed out by the time James carried her to his bed, climbed on top of her, and started strangling her in the pursuit of a “sexual thrill.”

RelatedSex Before Kissing: How 15-Year-Old Girls Are Dealing With Porn-Addicted Boys

James told the court that he had previously tried strangling a partner after becoming curious when he saw it done “on a film,” in porn. In that moment, he decided to try strangling again, only to kill Hannah in the process. He called emergency services 20 minutes after realizing she had stopped breathing, and Hannah was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Inspired By Porn

James said Hannah’s death was an accident, claiming that he had gotten “carried away” and was “disgusted with himself.”

At his sentencing for Hannah’s manslaughter, Judge Mrs. Justice Carr sentenced Morton to 12 years in prison, of which he will have to serve at least half, The Telegraph reported.

RelatedTrue Story: Porn Taught My Boyfriend That It Was Sexy To Hurt Me

During the sentencing, she had this a powerful statement to share with him:

“You enjoyed the domination, something you had seen on a porn DVD previously, and had also tried with at least one previous girlfriend… I am sure, as the jury was, that Hannah did not [provide] valid and informed consent to this escalated activity in the knowledge that it carried the risk of some bodily injury.

“She had never been involved in such activity before, was very intoxicated and, if not totally unconscious, then certainly confused and not thinking straight. She was in no position to object, trapped underneath you whilst you strangled her.”

Harmless Entertainment?

There is no possible way for anyone to make a completely accurate analysis of what drives someone to sexually assault someone. Even the infamous final interview by serial killer Ted Bundy and his statements about how pornography affected him must be taken as more of a cautionary tale, rather than a direct cause of his brutal crimes.

That being said, by James’ own admission, this was a porn-inspired crime. Who knows what would have happened, had he not seen strangling in the porn he had watched?

Related: Porn Didn’t Make Ted Bundy A Serial Killer, But It Likely Didn’t Help Him Either

While it’s important to remember that not all porn consumers will turn abusive, and not everyone who watches porn will become violent killers, pornography can and does warp consumers’ perceptions of what healthy sex and intimacy are like. There’s no denying that pornography also diminishes the importance of informed, enthusiastic, and continual consent, like in this tragic situation.

As the Judge said to James, there was no way Hannah would have been able to clearly tell him whether she would have wanted to engage in sex, or even strangling, for that matter. And yet, he went through with it anyway, and it cost her life.

Why This Matters

There’s no way around it—pornography depicts harmful, abusive and violent behaviors, and it has the potential to affect—or in extreme cases, even inspire—the consumer.

Even if a partner doesn’t turn to sexual aggression or violence, they are still consuming twisted depictions of sex that can warp their understanding of consent, love, and healthy relationships. Think of some of the categories featured on the world’s largest porn site: “domestic discipline,” “crying in pain,” “extreme abuse,” and “sleep assault.” We can’t be the only ones who see the problem, here.

Related: Data Shows Australian Domestic Violence Crisis Is Being Fueled By Pornography

So many people are quick to say, that will never happen to me, but from all the research linking pornography and sexual violence, and the thousands of stories we receive from partners all around the world, we know that cases like this happen more often than they should.

Even one death as a result of a porn-inspired sex crime is one too many. Join us in fighting against sexual assault and sexual exploitation, and fighting for love.

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