'Extremely manipulative' Snapchat hacker jailed for blackmailing girls over intimate images

Akash Sondhi Credit: Essex Police

An “extremely manipulative” man who hacked into the Snapchat accounts of more than 500 girls and women to blackmail them into sending him intimate images has been jailed for 11 years.

Akash Sondhi, 27, of Chafford Hundred in Essex, threatened his victims that if they did not send him further nude images of themselves he would post the existing intimate images that he had accessed to their friends and family in their phone contacts.

Some of the young women complied with his requests, and in at least six cases he carried out his threats.

He targeted 574 victims from across the globe – including the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Romania and beyond.

One of his victims tried to take her own life, and others have still not been traced.

Essex Police said that Sondhi admitted at Basildon Crown Court to 65 offences including hacking, blackmail and voyeurism.

The offences were committed against victims aged between 16 and 25, with the offending taking place between 2015 and 2020.

Sondhi was sentenced on Tuesday to 11 years in prison, a five year Serious Crime Prevention Order, and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.

Joseph Stickings, of the CPS, said: “Akash Sondhi is an extremely manipulative man who inflicted emotional and psychological damage on young women while also getting gratification from their images and videos.

“Following a diligent and thorough investigation conducted by the Essex Police Cyber Crime Unit the CPS was able to build a comprehensive case of 65 counts reflecting the high level of his offending.

“I would like to thank all of the women who bravely came forward to tell of their traumatic experiences at the hands of Akash Sondhi.

“Their accounts provided strong evidence and the CPS were able to create such a compelling prosecution case that Akash Sondhi pleaded guilty to all counts.”

Detective Sergeant Ian Collins, from the Essex Police Cyber Crime Unit, said: “I urge anyone using social media not to store intimate images of themselves, to secure and protect your data and make sure you don’t become a victim.

“Don’t share passwords even if you think it’s a trusted friend that asks you for them it might not be, its chat in a text.”