June 2020

Sick paedophile lured Yorkshire girls into sending naked photos after offering fake modelling jobs

A sick and “depraved” paedophile groomed young girls from Yorkshire online by offering fake modelling opportunities before convincing the children to send naked images and videos of themselves to him.

Daniel Berry, 31, targeted teenage girls from across the country on social media and “cunningly” groomed them into his web of abuse

His youngest victims were just 12 years old, with at least 16 girls lured into his monstrous scheme which spanned for over two years.

Berry threatened to visit the homes of his victims and sue their families if they refused comply with his warped demands and one investigator said it was the “worst case” of child sexual abuse they had seen in their career.

Berry, 31, of Prestwich, Greater Manchester, was described as “depraved” by Judge Tina Landale, and has now been locked up after pleading guilty to 48 counts relating to the online grooming of underage girls.

Some of his victims were in Yorkshire but he also targeted other girls in places such as Scotland, Wales, Northumberland, Kent, Sussex and Staffordshire – as well as a number in Manchester.

Between 2017 and 2019, Berry set up three fake Facebook profiles on which he posed as a woman named Sarah, messaging girls to offer modelling opportunities as a way to earn “millions” of pounds, the court heard.

‘Sarah’ then urged the victims to download the Kik Messaging app, convincing the girls that they would be able to talk to the ‘boss’ of the modelling agency.

It was on the app that Berry, posing again as a man called Mark, would unleash his harrowing tirade of abuse, said Amanda Johnson, prosecuting.

In many of the cases, ‘Mark’ would then pressure the girls into recruiting their friends into his personal network of victims with them frequently being told to perform sexual acts on each other. One child was even coerced into recruiting her twin sister into the grooming set-up.

The abuse continued in hundreds of messages between Berry and his victims, in exchanges lasting anywhere from as little as three days to six months. Some of the girls were even told that they should meet up with ‘Mark’ in London with Berry saying he wanted to do drugs and have sex with them.

Multiple victims disclosed to him that they were vulnerable at home – one told the paedophile that she was facing violence from her step-father, another said she was suffering with mental health concerns.

When the girls made such a confession, Berry would use it against them, dangling money and job offers in front of them as a way to escape their worries.

If the school-age girls began to question when the money would be coming or if they refused any of Berry’s demands, he would threaten them using his alter-ego.

Mark’ told the young victims that they and their parents would be sued for ‘wasting the time and money’ of the fake modelling agency boss, and told them that he would release the explicit videos of them online.

Some of the children told Berry that they had been admitted to hospital or had been injured in car crashes to escape his grip, others tried deleting and blocking the ‘Mark’ character on the Kik messaging app.

But each time this happened, the victims would be overwhelmed with messages from other social media accounts – including from Berry’s first alias ‘Sarah’ – saying they would be prosecuted by the police if they did not respond to ‘Mark’.

One of the frightened victims, who ranged in age from 12 to 15-years-old at the time of their abuse, said that she was scared that ‘Mark’ was going to find her and kill her.

The girls were terrified when police turned up at their doors to ask questions about their abuser and what they suffered.

But the 16 brave victims worked with the police to give evidence in the case, in what one forensic investigator called ‘the worst case of child sexual abuse’ he had seen in his career.

As Berry’s horrific crimes were uncovered, the true nature of his ‘depraved’ mind became clear.

Since 2012, Berry had been accruing more than 5,000 of pictures and videos on his laptop of children being sexually abused.

These images were stored alongside the pictures and videos he pressured his own victims into sending.

Judge Landale sentenced Berry to 10 years behind bars, with a further three years to be served on licence. Berry also now has a lifelong sexual prevention order against him.

She told Berry that his actions were the ‘most depraved and horrific imaginable’: “You exploited and manipulated children into providing you with sexual images.

“You callously and deliberately offered preposterous amounts of money to secure compliance.

“And when that didn’t work you blackmailed and intimidated them because you could exploit their youth and naivety.

“All of the girls were vulnerable because of their youth and age.

“A forensic examiner said that they had never viewed material more distressing concerned with the sexual abuse of children than in this case throughout their whole career.

“These children were in their own homes when the offences took place – where they should be free from harm and safe.

“The only real mitigation is that your plea of guilty has saved these vulnerable children the ordeal of giving evidence in court.

“You are a man of previous good character, but that is of little mitigation as you have been offending secretly since 2012.”

The full charges were:

  • 17 counts of causing or inciting a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity with no penetration.

  • 10 counts of causing a child aged 13 to 15 to watch or look at an image of sexual activity.

  • Seven counts of causing or inciting a girl aged 13 to engage in sexual activity with penetration.

  • Five counts of distributing an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child.

  • Four counts of making an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child.

  • Two counts of causing or inciting a girl aged under 13 to engage in sexual activity with no penetration.

  • Two counts of causing or inciting a girl aged under 13 to engage in sexual activity with penetration.

  • One count of possessing an extreme pornographic image or images portraying an act which threatened life.

Berry, of Bannerman Avenue, Bury, was sentenced on Wednesday morning in Minshull Street Crown Court to a custodial sentence of 13 years. He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Pervert persuaded young girls to send him explicit videos

A pervert persuaded young girls to send him explicit videos of themselves and then distributed them.

Daniel Berry’s crimes were so extensive that, at Minshull Street Crown Court, it took more than half an hour for 48 charges to be read and for him to plead guilty to them all.

Judge Tina Landale heard how 31-year-old Berry, of Bannerman Avenue, Prestwich, committed offences against a total of 16 girls, aged between 12 and 15.

Berry admitted a series of offences including causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch sexual activity, distributing indecent pictures and making 5,412 indecent images of children, including 1,629 rated the most serious category A.

Berry was placed on the sex offenders’ register and remanded in prison while statements are sought from his victims and probation officers can assess his level of dangerousness.

Judge Landale said: “It is essential that I have victim personal statements from each victim who wants to provide one before I pass sentence because the impact on those children is something that I must take into account.

“The defendant has caused a large number of children to send indecent videos of them to himself. He has distributed some of those videos. I want to know if there is a financial element to this case, given the large number of requests that he made and the well planned efforts he has gone to to secure so many videos of different children engaging in sexual activity.

“I would also like to know, if possible, how widely these have been distributed and how many have been distributed.”

Berry is due to be sentenced on June 5.