A single mum from Corby has branded bosses of email firm Hotmail ‘heartless’ after she was told to pay £70 to retrieve the only pictures of her dead son from her account.
Leah Williamson, 28, was horrified to discover that her Hotmail account had been closed down after it was hacked by cyber criminals.
The account contained the only pictures of her dead son John who stillborn in 2011 and whose death caused her to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.
Leah was emailed an electronic folder of photographs of John by one of her friends who does not have the folder any more.
Now she claims she has been told pay up to access her old emails and folders.
Leah says this incident has reignited her illness.
She said: “I’ve been put on medication because of the effect it’s had on me, the day after it happened I nearly had a mental breakdown.
“It’s brought back everything that happened in 2011, just the thought of it.”
Leah has also hit out at Hotmail customer services for not treating her complaints seriously.
She added: “I rang customer services three times, the first time they hung up on me.
“The second time they tried to get money off me, they said the only way we can do it is if you give us money, or you go to the police.
“They tried to tell me I was in a different country, they were able to tell me that foreign IPs (internet protocol addresses) had accessed my account.
“I couldn’t retrieve the account because they needed an alternative email address which I didn’t have and my number which is linked to the account wasn’t working to retrieve it that way.
“I was begging them, ‘if you can’t retrieve it then just delete it’, I don’t want my little boy’s pictures going around the world.
“I don’t want anyone seeing that, only three people have seen them from when it happened in 2011 so those are really private, that’s a real concern for me.
“I was quite upset thinking they could be forwarding stuff from my account, I had all sorts of stuff going through my head.”
Despite pleading with staff, Leah has still not been given access to her account to retrieve the photos of her little boy.
Leah, who lives in Corby with her two year-old son Ceaidyn, is taking an ICT course and cannot afford to have her account returned to her.
She said: “I just think it’s wrong that they were trying to get money off me to retrieve my own email address to get pictures of my little boy.
“I’m a single mum, I get £80 a week in child benefits and tax credits and it’s nearly Christmas so I just can’t afford that.
“They were persistent saying I had to pay but in no way will I pay that money.
“I don’t think it’s right as a human and people who work for these companies are humans as well so they should get it.
“The way Hotmail have dealt with it is very bad.”
A spokesman for Hotmail confirmed they are investigating the incident.