June 2020

Pervert who tricked 401 kids into sending naked photos jailed

A “prolific” paedophile from Aldershot who tricked 401 boys into sending him naked photos of themselves can be pictured for the first time after he was put behind bars for 10 years.

James Utting, 36, of St Michael’s Road, posed as a 15-year-old girl to encourage boys to send him images and video footage over social media.

On some occasions, he asked his victims to send more, and if they refused, he threatened to share the images with their friends and family. The court was also told of how he carried out these threats in some cases, ignoring tearful pleas from the boys.

The victims were all boys aged between eight and 16 and from locations around the UK, including Humberside, Grimsby, Sussex, Leeds, Bradford, Southampton, Wakefield, Barnsley and Sheffield.

The charges related to 11 victims, but police found images of 401 boys – many of whom are still to be identified.

Utting earlier pleaded guilty to 43 offences dating between June 7, 2016 and July 24, 2018. In addition, he admitted a further 116 offences to be taken into consideration.

He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at Winchester Crown Court. Utting will also have to go on an extended licence for five years on release.

At his sentencing, victim impact statements were read detailing the horrific impact his actions had on the boys.

The threats to share the images and the public sharing of them in some cases, devastated some victims’ self-esteem and caused panic, anxiety, depression, threats and humiliation.

One of the boys threatened to end his own life as a result of the trauma. 

Utting was sentenced following guilty pleas to:

  • 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.