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A police officer shared a DV victim's personal details with her ex. He's walked free.

When Queensland police officer Neil Punchard leaked a woman’s address to her violent ex-partner, he wanted to terrify her.

The then-47-year-old had been an officer for a decade, and sent text messages to the man – who was a mate of his – joking about the matter.

“Just tell her you know where she lives and leave it at that. Lol. She will flip,” he wrote in a message that was later sent to Queensland’s Crime Commission.

Women and violence: The hidden numbers. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

But it wasn’t just one leak – it was nine, all sent during a year long period in 2013. Along with the confidential information from the police database, he also gave his mate advice about what to say in a series of derogatory rants about the Gold Coast woman.

Neil Punchard
Queensland Police Senior Constable Neil Punchard leaves the Magistrates Court in Brisbane, Monday, October 14, 2019. Image: AAP.

In one instance, Punchard drafted an email that was intended to "send to the bitch that will hopefully make her s*** herself."

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He also said: "F*** this bitch...is she f***ing delirious? F*** her. No more negotiations."

"You've been quiet for too long. I know you're screaming on the inside. Let loose on her," he further advised.

Due to Punchard's actions, Julie*, which is the name The Guardian has been using to protect the woman, has been living in fear for the last few years.

"Words cannot describe the hurt, the stress and deep anxieties that I suffer on a daily basis because of a police officer in a job expected to protect me, did the exact opposite," she wrote in a statement that was later read out in court.

Julie was pregnant with her third child with her current husband when the leaks were made to her abusive ex.

He'd already been convicted of domestic violence, and was facing another charge of breaching a domestic violence order.

Julie had to move twice because of Punchard's leaks and says her former husband turned up at her place 12 times after being provided with her address. He's now apparently overseas with warrants out for his arrest.

"The vile misuse and abuse of power has meant that I feel endlessly threatened and vulnerable," she said. "I cannot comprehend how a person in such a trusted job could do such a horrible thing and think it would be without consequence."

Neil-QLD
A photo of Neil Punchard on the Queensland Police website.

It's taken three years for Julie to see her fight for justice play out in a court of law.

Two police investigations cleared Punchard before the Crime and Corruption Commission overturned those decisions thanks to Julie's determined push for action.

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"An officer gave the details of where I was living, gave them to his mate, using the police database as if it was a Yellow Pages,” Julie said during a QCAT hearing in June 2018 reported The Guardian. “Now, this officer, Neil Punchard, is still in a job. He still has access to the police computer. And I have had to move ... [and] cross my fingers like this and hope he doesn’t do it again."

"I'm already intimidated. I came here today because there is an officer with a gun and a grudge and access to my private details. The damage is done," Julie said.

At the QCAT hearing, Julie launched a breach of privacy claim seeking compensation from the Queensland government for having to move because of Punchard's actions. The maximum payout she could receive was $100,000, however she estimates the damage caused is much worse.

In October 2018 Punchard was finally charged with nine counts of computer hacking and was suspended.

Last month he pleaded guilty to the charges after failing to have them thrown out on a technicality.

He has now been sentenced to a suspended two-month jail sentence, but the Queensland police boss says he's waiting for an appeal deadline to lapse before commenting on the future of Punchard's employment in the force.

Prosecutor Angus Edwards told the court "his offending was a complete breach of trust...his job is to protect the Queensland community and he did the exact opposite of that."

He added that Punchard had become thoroughly involved in what was "a very acrimonious separation, where he himself was inflaming the situation".

"The fact it was no accident, instead deliberate, and it was calculating, has made it all the more painful — no matter what I do, I cannot feel safe," Julie had said earlier in a victim impact statement.

Outside court after the sentencing she told the ABC, "If it wasn't for the media I believe I would have been dead. It's been a three year uphill battle fighting for justice. I now understand why so many women die of domestic violence."

She is yet to receive any compensation, but this change.org petition has taken on the task because the Queensland government has not.

With AAP.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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