A pervert used fake social media profiles to threaten young girls into sending him naked photographs of themselves, Lincoln Crown Court was told on Thursday.
Rhys Lynn told his victims that he would distribute images of them that he had already obtained. He threatened to rape a 15-year-old if she did not comply.
The five girls involved, one of whom was only 12, were left badly affected by their contact with him over the internet with a number of them having since had to undergo counselling.
One later told police that her chances of success in her A-Levels had been completely wrecked by him.
Lynn, 24, of Hawthorn Avenue, Cherry Willingham, admitted five charges of causing or inciting exploitation of a child; two charges of causing a child to watch a sexual act; a further charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and three charges of making a total of 1,218 indecent images of children.
He was jailed for five years and four months and placed on the sex offenders’ register for life. He was also given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
Judge Steven Coupland, passing sentence, told him: “You did this because you have a sexual interest in young girls. These offences were deliberate and sophisticated and it was a course of conduct.
“A particularly unpleasant feature of this case is that after they had been persuaded to send you pictures you threatened you would send those pictures to other people if they did not send you more.”
Caroline Bradley, prosecuting, said that Lynn set up accounts on sites such as Instagram and Snapchat using fictitious names claiming he was a teenage boy.
Four of the girls sent him naked photographs of themselves and Lynn also sent sexual images of himself to them.
Miss Bradley said that one girl, aged 13, sent naked pictures and was blackmailed into sending more.
She said that Lynn claimed to be 14 in messages he sent to his 12-year-old victim.
“He sent her a video of his penis and messages that if she did not send him photographs he would tell everybody she had sent him images of herself naked.”
The girl’s social media account was taken over first by her elder sister and then by her mother but Lynn continued to send her indecent material.
Miss Bradley added that a 15-year-old girl was targeted by Lynn after accepting a friend request from him.
“She was then asked for nudes. The defendant said that if she didn’t send them she would be raped. She sent him pictures of her breasts and he threatened to post the pictures on the internet.”
A 16-year-old was also blackmailed into sending photographs and another young girl was told that video footage of one of her friends would be distributed unless she agreed to his requests.
Lynn was arrested in August last year after police raided his home. He went on to admit during interviews with officers that he had set up social media accounts using fictitious names and then committed the offences.
Sunil Khanna, in mitigation, said: “He is a man with no previous convictions who suddenly became involved in this quite appalling behaviour.”
He said that Lynn gained an engineering qualification at college and then obtained an apprenticeship only to be laid off.
Lynn, he said, struggled to cope after going self-employed and started drinking. He then began to set up social media accounts using fake profiles and contacted girls.
“It was like a snowball. Initially he started interacting with these young girls and things developed further and further. He accepts he has problems.”