A woman died after performing "degrading" sex acts online for a "snuff porn" fan, an inquest heard today.

Hope Barden was encouraged to perform dangerous acts over three months in online videos for a man before she suffocated to death last year.

Her flatmates found her.

The 21-year was a graduate who worked as a carer for people with learning disabilities and also worked as a webcam girl for extra money on the side.

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Hope, from Staffordshire in the UK, was in an online relationship with Jerome Dangar — a 45-year-old pub landlord who lived more than 400km away in Cornwall, the Sun reports.

Police said the man was watching Hope online when she died of asphyxiation on March 15, 2018, during "sexually related role play", but he made no attempt to call emergency services "to the danger he had put her in".

Hope's family are devastated over her death. Photo / Facebook
Hope's family are devastated over her death. Photo / Facebook

Dangar, who ran the King Arthur's Arms Inn pub in Tintagel, North Cornwall, was arrested in connection with her death in May last year after police launched an investigation.

Police also found a collection of abuse videos, which showed threats to life and serious genital injuries.

He was convicted of possession of extreme pornographic images in January and jailed for 15 months.

However, he was found dead in prison before he could face charges over Barden's death.

Jerome Dangar had been paying for Hope to perform a sex act when she died. Police said he would have faced charges but died in prison while jailed for a separate offence. Photo / Staffordshire Police
Jerome Dangar had been paying for Hope to perform a sex act when she died. Police said he would have faced charges but died in prison while jailed for a separate offence. Photo / Staffordshire Police

Her family revealed today how distraught they were as a coroner returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

The woman's mum, Kate Barden, said she was devastated by her "beautiful" and "intelligent" daughter's death and that the man involved would never face justice.

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"Hope had been earning extra money working in the online adult film industry," she said.

"Unregulated, this industry serves no one except those who wish to perpetrate violence against women.

"Hope became the subject of interest of a regular user of the site who paid her to perform sexual acts via the internet, which over three months of contact escalated into degrading and dangerous situations.

"We are sorely disappointed that this case can no longer bring any legal justice for Hope."

More possible victims

A pathologist who examined Dangar's extreme pornography collection said there was a strong possibility that other subjects died during the filming process as the videos weren't staged.

Staffordshire Police confirmed the pair had been in contact via an adult website, but the act that led to her death was a "private arrangement conducted on social media".

Barden's mum Kate Barden said: "Had this gone to court, this would be a landmark case, the first of its kind in the UK.

Hope Barden, 21, died when she suffocated herself to death during a sex act for a webcam client. Photo / Facebook
Hope Barden, 21, died when she suffocated herself to death during a sex act for a webcam client. Photo / Facebook

"As it is, we will be issuing our report and findings to every police force in the UK in the trust that should a dreadful situation like this arise again, there is a record of how we approached such a sensitive and difficult issue.

"Anyone with daughters or other relatives involved in this terrible industry must be aware of the risk of harm. A duty of care exists in any relationship.

"If someone is obviously in danger, one has a legal obligation to take steps to help.

"In this tragic case, Hope was left to die. Hope's family and friends have been devastated."

Staffordshire Detective Inspector John Quilty said: "The death of Dangar ultimately prevented prosecutors from charging him in connection with Hope's death as a result of sexually related role play.

"This type of online sexual activity is extremely dangerous, and the repeated persuasion and dangerous requests that Dangar placed on Hope ultimately led to her death.

"Hope was a 21-year-old woman and her death was tragic. Throughout the investigation our officers have remained in contact with Hope's family and have updated them with details. Our thoughts remain with them.

"We are also grateful for the support from Hope's friends, as well as her family."

Quilty said Staffordshire Police could continue to investigate any similar behaviour, saying it should send "a strong deterrent message to those who engage in such dangerous sexual acts".

WHERE TO GET HELP:

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:

LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.
NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
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• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.