It’s safe to say that Samuel Trelawney Hughes did not handle rejection well.
The 31-year-old British-born California resident was indicted Tuesday on charges that he used fake identities to terrorize women he met at networking events or at work who were not interested in meeting with him again.
The threatening messages the IT worker allegedly sent the victims by email, text, and the postal service were full of monstrously violent imagery: vows of rape, murder, dismemberment, and immolation with an overlay of misogyny and racism.
“Why the fuck haven’t you replied to my last email, you know I am going to cut out your throat and I mean it if I see you around. You ugly small minded miserable idiotic c*** I am coming to get you, I will enjoy every moment of killing you,” read one typical 2019 message.
“Don’t ever report any threats to the police they wont help you and that makes me more likely come after you and your family,” he wrote in another months later. “I hope when I see you, I rape you, slash your throat and pour gasoline over your half mutilated body… Either way you are gonna die, youre going to pay.”
In a criminal complaint, authorities alleged that Hughes met six of the victims at social networking events and three through his jobs. Two never met him but were targeted because of their ties to other victims. (One was a customer service representative at his bank.)
“Multiple victims described Hughes’ aggressive in-person approach as making them feel uncomfortable,” the criminal complaint said. When he pursued further contact and was rebuffed, the sick campaign of threats began, it said.
The women who received the messages were understandably horror-struck—especially when they were further threatened for reporting the harassment to police.
Some told law enforcement that they stopped attending networking events in the Pasadena area and became convinced that their tormentor might carry out his graphic, detailed fantasies. One woman stopped going to work and eventually quit her job after blocking Hughes on social media and being barraged with anonymous threats of being gang-raped, stabbed, and set on fire.
According to the complaint, Hughes was spectacularly bad at covering his tracks—lashing out at victims from email accounts under both his real name and pseudonyms. Investigators said in court papers that they were able to easily track him through his internet protocol address, though he bizarrely seemed to think he could avoid punishment by simply refusing to speak to them.
“Thank you for your card and early morning visit at 7am, very sobering. I like to exercise my constitutional rights under 4th amendment rights,” he wrote to one FBI agent who tried to contact him. “I can say if you wish to communicate with me then continue to do so via SMS. You gave me a cellphone I can reach you on the back of your card. I appreciate that a lot thank you. I am under no obligation to speak with you on the phone (Unless I have a lawyer present). Hope you understand and I respect the role you are in.”
Hughes’ court-appointed attorney did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night. On his LinkedIn page, the defendant described himself as the CEO of something called Cloud Computing but also suggested he was looking for work and had mental health issues.
“Right now; I am eager to start up running a company after an extensive period of falling ill as a result of emotional difficulties attributed to a tragic incident related to my parents,” he wrote. “I look to demonstrate my outstanding performance and see where I can work on a variety of high profile projects.”
In October, court papers say, he was admitted to the hospital on a psychiatric hold after it was reported that he posted on social media that he might harm himself. Pasadena Police arrested him in June, while the FBI investigation was still underway, and now he has been indicted on seven federal counts of stalking, nine counts of making online threats, three counts of mailing threatening communications, and seven counts of witness tampering.