A man from Aldershot who posed as a 15-year-old girl to get young boys to send photos and videos has today, 5th June, been jailed for 10 years.
36-year-old James Utting, of St Michael's Road, admitted 43 offences of possessing and distributing images of young boys from around the UK relating to dates between 7th June 2016 and 24th July 2018.
He was sentenced before Winchester Crown Court, and admitted a further 116 offences to be taken into consideration.
Utting will also have to go on an extended licence for five years on release, following his 10 year sentence.
The court heard how on some occasions, he would threaten to expose the content with the victims' friends and family if they refused to send more - a threat which was carried out in some cases.
The court heard how these threats had 'devastated' some victims' self esteem and cause panic, anxiety, depression, threats and humiliation.
One victim threatened to end his own life as a result.
While the charges relate to 11 victims, officers found images of 401 boys, many of which remain unidentified.
Sentencing Utting was Her Honour Judge Jane Miller QC, she said: "It’s right to say the impact statements showed the very real damage your actions caused the victims in this case.
"Actions that could affect their whole lives. It is only hoped the boys will be able to pick themselves up and move forwards after this. I hope they understand that it wasn’t their fault.
"The damage done was considerable. No court can risk that happening again. The public needs protection from you."
The offences were:
- Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
- Causing a child to watch or look at an image of sexual activity
- Distributing an indecent image of a child
- Possessing an indecent image of a child
- Engaging in sexual communication with a child
Following the sentencing, Acting Detective Sergeant Wendy Harrison said: "Utting’s offences were so prolific and caused so much trauma and distress to so many young people right across the country.
"He targeted and exploited young and vulnerable boys by hiding his true identity behind a fake and digital persona.
"I just hope this sentence can now allow those young people and their families to move ahead with their lives.
"We cannot praise the victims enough for their courage and determination in coming forward and reporting what happened. Because of them, this person is now in custody for a significant period of time.
"I also hope this sentence will alert others to the dangers of the digital world and also encourage others who have suffered this type of abuse, no matter when it happened, to come forward and speak to us.
"We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and work hard to bring offenders to justice."