A 17-year-old from York has been sentenced to 12 months behind bars after it was discovered he was blackmailing school pupils into sending him indecent images via Snapchat.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, blackmailed two 14-year-olds in January and May of this year, but with 362 photos and 36 videos found in his possession it is believed the abuse went on for longer.
York Youth Court heard evidence that the defendant threatened to hack one young boy’s Xbox account, while also telling another child he had gained the password to their social network account.
In a bid to escape the blackmail one victim blocked the older teenager from Snapchat, but then received further threats that images he had sent would be uploaded to social media if he was not unblocked.
The guilty boy also tried to get the boy’s brother to persuade his victim to reconnect but this led to the exposing of his crimes to parents and teachers.
Thomas Stanway, prosecuting, said that at least 12 pupils were contacted by the defendant, but only two cases of blackmail were confirmed.
These offences speak for themselves. We have the defendant contacting 12 youths via various electronic methods and it’s clear threats were made.
The sheer number of images that have been amassed make it clear this would have been done over some time.”
Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks, defending, said:
All of theses offences have been borne out of a period in the defendant’s life of much confusion and a struggle with his own identity.
He has struggled with his identity and a depleted self worth and did not reach out to those close to him.”
The boy will spend 12 months in a detention centre and a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order has been issued.