Pervert targeted 100s of children
A SEXUAL predator posed as a child on the internet to befriend youngsters who he persuaded to perform sex acts on webcams.
Liam Shields (29), of Stanton Close, Desborough, admitted 42 charges relating to sex offences against boys and girls which he committed using Facebook and other websites.
His victims were as young as nine.
Shields admitted causing, inciting and attempting to incite children to engage in sexual activity and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
He also admitted making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
Parents of the young victims subjected to emotional blackmail by Shields, wept in court on Friday as he was jailed for seven years.
Northampton Crown Court was told Shields created fake profiles in the names of Claire Smith and Joe Smith to lure pre-pubescent children to become his Facebook friends.
Shields, who had a foot fetish and struck up conversations with children about their feet, avoided exposing his true identity by not answering his phone or meeting the youngsters.
Instead he coerced them to have explicit exchanges on web cameras before threatening to distribute the pictures among their friends.
Photographs of children performing sex acts and records of explicit conversations initiated by Shields were uncovered on his computer and mobile phone.
About 200 people – the majority children – were listed as his friends on his fake Facebook accounts, but the prosecution said this did not reflect the true scale of the offending.
The investigation was sparked after a parent found a text message on her child’s phone.
Statements from parents of 13 children were read.
One said: “He spoke absolute filth to my 10-year-old daughter.”
Adrian Langdale, in mitigation, said he was not going to provide excuses for Shields’ behaviour but said that his client had admitted the offences in a police interview.
He said: “It shows a considerable amount of maturity and courage to own up to what he has done as the first step towards rehabilitation is remorse.
“He, unlike others in his position, co-operated fully.”
Following the case, police issued a warning to parents to be vigilant about their children’s safety while they are online.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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