James Utting, 36, of Aldershot was jailed on Friday 4 June 2020 for 10 years after deceiving boys into sending explicit images of themselves by pretending to be a 15 year old girl.
Although the charges related to 11 victims who came forward, on investigation, Police found over 400 individual images of young boys, many of whom are still unidentified.
Utting groomed the boys, the youngest of whom was 8 years old, across Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat demanding they send naked images, and blackmailing them by threatening to share previous images with the victim’s friends and family if they refused. On a number of occasions Utting actually carried out his threats and shared these images with the victim’s friends.
Sentencing Utting, Her Honour Judge Jane Miller QC said “It’s right to say the impact statements showed the very real damage your actions caused the victims in this case…the damage done was considerable. No court can risk that happening again. The public needs protection from you.” In addition to having to serve 10 years imprisonment, Utting will have to serve an extended licence period of 5 years upon his release.
David Hawkins, a specialist Abuse Lawyer at Verisona Law said “This horrific case shows just how dangerous social media can be for children and other vulnerable groups where people may not know who they are really talking to. Depressingly, cases such as this have been on the increase for some years. The recent COVID-19 lockdown has also meant that children are spending more time online than they usually would, which has greatly increased the risk of online grooming and child exploitation. I would encourage anyone who has experienced a crime of this nature to come forward and speak to the Police, who will treat these allegations seriously and sensitively”.
If you, or a loved one has been affected by sexual abuse whether recently or in childhood and would like to talk about your legal rights, please do contact our team of experienced, award winning, specialist child abuse lawyers who will be able to explain your rights to you and also explore whether it is possible for you to obtain financial redress. Contact the specialist historic abuse team at Verisona Law on 02392 98 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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