A man has been charged in connection with an online campaign of abuse targeting a woman and her family.

A Hertfordshire resident became the target of a sustained campaign of abuse, which lasted more than a year and included hundreds of abusive messages directed at the victim and her family and friends.

The victim reported the abuse to Twitter and to Hertfordshire Constabulary, but identifying the person responsible proved a challenge, owing to the manner in which the campaign was conducted.

Detective Constable Tony Galley, from Hertfordshire Constabulary's Case Investigation Team, took up the case and spent over six months investigating and exploring methods to confirm the identity of the perpetrator.

By conducting country-wide enquiries and extensive analysis of the hundreds of messages sent to the victims, DC Galley was able to create evidential links between the suspect and a number of bogus social media accounts being used to send the messages.

After the extensive investigation police charged 22-year-old Carl Davig, of Maple Avenue in St Helens, with stalking and harassment. Davig appeared at Hatfield Remand Court on January 31, and was bailed to return to St Albans Magistrates Court on April 15.

DC Tony Galley said: “In the past these types of crimes have been difficult to investigate but we are developing new methods and working in partnership with other forces and internet companies to make it possible to track down people who are abusing the internet in this way.

“The victim and those close to her have had to endure a torrid time but hopefully this case will demonstrate that criminals cannot use the internet with total anonymity and run a very real risk of being identified, arrested and prosecuted.”