A Snapchat predator has been jailed for blackmailing seven young girls into sending him sexual images while using a string of false identities.
Christopher Ware threatened to harm the family of one 15-year-old if she did not send him images and told other victims he would post their images on the internet unless they complied.
He used 14 different identities, including two in which he claimed to be a girl, and his youngest victim was only nine.
Ware contacted three local girls aged 13, 14 and 15 while living near Bridgwater and working in a supermarket and carried on even after being arrested and released under investigation.
After he moved to Devon he preyed on girls all around Britain.
He would get the girls to send him pictures of their faces and then threaten to ‘shout them out’ online by posting them alongside naked images, pretending it was them.
He told one of the Somerset victims he would go round to her house or school if she did not comply.
He forced her to touch herself sexually as he watched on Facetime and recorded the images.
One of his victims tried to take her own life, while others needed counselling.
Ware, 33, of St Peters Street, Tiverton, admitted causing a child to engage in sexual activity and 16 of sexual communications with a child.
He was jailed for four years and nine months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court, was put on the sex offenders’ register for life and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning him from using false identities online and enabling the police to monitor his online activity.
The judge told Ware: “You used threats that amounted to a form of blackmail to get what you wanted in terms of sexualised images and responses.
“You made up any number of false identities and claimed to be a female more than once.
“The personal statements are indicative of the damage you inflicted, which was shocking and dreadful to hear.
“You brought a campaign of intrusion and interference with these children’s lives and bombarded them with sexualised demands and threats and blackmail.”
Heather Hope, prosecuting, said Ware began his activity in January 2018, bullying girls into sending images of themselves while sending indecent images of himself.
He was arrested and questioned twice but started reoffending in 2020, leading to police forces around the country alerting their Devon counterparts.
He used Snapchat and mobile phone accounts with fake names, but was caught when the girls went to their parents.
One mother posed as her child to trap him and passed his details to the police.