A young man from Shetland accused of hacking into the computers of major corporations and public authorities grew up in Yell and lived almost as a recluse.
Jake Davis, 18, was released on bail today in London after appearing at City of Westminster Magistrates Court to face five charges, including involvement in disabling the website of the UK’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency.
He is being allowed to stay with his mother Jenni who recently moved from Shetland to Spalding in Lincolnshire, England. His bail conditions include observing a night-time curfew and a ban on using the internet.
Mr Davis was arrested in Mid Yell last Wednesday after police flew to Shetland by charter plane and took him to London for questioning. He has lived in Yell with his younger brother, Josh, 17, since coming to Shetland in the late 1990s with their mother. Josh was also questioned last week by police in England and later released without charge.
The boys’ grandparents, Sam and Dot Davis, moved to Shetland from Dover in the early 1990s and ran the North Isles Motel and the Scalloway Hotel. They still live in Sellafirth.
The two brothers and their mother lived in Gutcher to begin with and the boys attended Mid Yell Junior High School. They then moved a few miles to Northavoe and later to a council house in Mid Yell.
People in Yell who knew the older brother described him as a loner. One former neighbour said he had been badly affected by the death of his mother’s partner, Allie Spence, in a car crash in Yell in February 2004, becoming reclusive and refusing to go to school.
The Daily Mail reported that Mr Davis is autistic and was bullied at school, causing him to retreat into a world revolving around computers.
Mr Davis was arrested as part of a major investigation into hacking by the groups LulzSec and Anonymous who are linked with attacks on the computer systems of the CIA in the United States and major corporations like News International, PayPal and Sony.
Police said they believed he used the online nickname Topiary. The five charges he faces include having unauthorised access to a computer system; encouraging or assisting serious crime and conspiring with others to commit offences involving computer misuse.
The most specific allegation involves the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, which was set up to fight serious organised crime, such as trafficking in heroin and cocaine, human trafficking, fraud and computer crime. He is charged with conspiring with others to carry out a so-called distributed denial of service attack on the agency’s website, which involves bombarding an online service with data to effectively knock it out of action.
He is also accused of offences relating to the hacking of computer systems run by an NHS trust in London and Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
As he left court today he wore black sunglasses and carried a book entitled Free radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science by Michael Brooks. He will reappear at Southwark Crown Court on 30th August.