'Evil predator' who posed as girl to con boys into sending naked photos and videos had victims in Sheffield and Barnsley

An ‘evil predator’ has been jailed for posing online as a teenage girl to induce 401 boys to send naked photos of themselves.

Sunday, 7th June 2020, 9:20 am

James Utting, of Aldershot, Hampshire, pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to 43 offences of possessing and distributing indecent images of children and engaging children in sexual activity relating to 11 victims.

The 36-year-old, who had gathered thousands of images, also asked for a further 116 offences against 54 other victims to be taken into consideration but the court heard that there were 401 victims.

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James Utting

The victims, aged between eight and 15, were from across the country including Sheffield and Barnsley.

Judge Jane Miller QC ruled that Utting posed a danger to children and sentenced him to 10 years behind bars.

She said: “It was both devastating and highly distressing for the boys, it will affect all of their lives.”

Matthew Lawson, prosecuting, told the court that Utting created false profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat using the image of a 15-year-old girl.

He then enticed his victims to send naked pictures of themselves and of them committing sex acts on themselves by sending them pornographic images purporting to be from the girl they believed they were in contact with.

Utting would then blackmail the boys by threatening to share the naked pictures unless they sent further images.

The defendant went through with the threat and sent the photos to friends and relatives of 19 victims.

Some of the victims could be seen ‘crying and begging’ the defendant to stop blackmailing them in the videos sent to him.

One victim, aged 14, said in a victim impact statement that ‘paranoia was everywhere’ after the images were shared with other pupils at his school and added that he felt ‘low to the point where there was no meaning to life’.

His mother described Utting as an ‘evil predator’ and added: “As a mother this has broken my heart and changed my view of the world forever.”

Mr Lawson said that Utting told police that he had become ‘addicted’ and ‘lost control of himself’ as well as describing his actions as ‘cruel’.