A man who created fake social media profiles and had sexualised chats with girls on Snapchat has been jailed.
David Milligan posed as a younger man while chatting with children as young as 12 on the social media platform Snapchat.
The 44-year-old used a fake account with fake photographs to support his lies.
Newcastle Crown Court heard he asked for and sometimes received indecent images from the youngsters and sent them pictures and videos of his genitals.
His behaviour only came to light in December 2019 when police visited his home in Walker, Newcastle, and seized his devices as part of an investigation into him having indecent images of children.
Officers then discovered he had also been in touch with girls aged between 12 and 15 online.
Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said: "Indecent images were retrieved and the examination of his devices also revealed he had been communicating with a number of females aged under 16, speaking to them in graphic terms, mainly on Snapchat and getting images from them and sending images of himself and inciting sexual activity."
The court heard details of his online activity with several teenage girls.
One girl said in a victim impact statement: "I feel ashamed of what happened and of myself. It's on my mind a lot and I feel a lot of sadness.
"I don't know why it had to be me. Was I an easy target? Did he target me because I was young and didn't know what I was doing?
"I wondered if I was a bad person and did I deserve this. I'm scared he could find out where I live and hurt me for telling the police."
Milligan, who was living in Newcastle at the time but now of Townhead Road, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, Scotland pleaded guilty to a total of 18 offences, with five counts relating to indecent images of children, and a further 13 charges relating to the online sexual abuse of seven children.
He pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing in March.
On Friday 30 September, Judge Sarah Mallett jailed him for six years and told he must sign the sex offenders register and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order, all indefinitely.
The judge told him: "This is a very serious catalogue of offending, as you know.
"Your offending was committed against a significant number of children over an extended period of time. Children are very vulnerable to this type of offending."
The court heard Milligan is remorseful and had developed an addiction to legal pornography.
Sue Hirst, mitigating, said: "He is of previous good character. He had been a family man who was in employment and had been leading a fairly quiet life. He lived in Newcastle for 20 years and had a long term relationship with his ex partner, which produced three children.
"He accepts developing a sexual interest in adolescent girls which led him to click on profiles and make contact with the victims in this case.
"He has found, in some ways, his arrest a way out of a situation in which he felt he was trapped. He didn't know how to break free. He now realises how harmful his behaviour was to the children involved."
Detective Constable Jane Stephenson, from the Northumbria Police Cyber Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), said: “When sex offenders operate online they think they can hide their crimes but this case shows the lengths officers will go to protect victims and bring offenders before the courts.
“This has been a long and thorough investigation by our team to ensure effective justice at court and involved months of trawling through electronic devices and working to identify victims to gather the evidence needed to secure a guilty plea and not put the victims through the ordeal of a trial.
“Milligan’s action were vile and his victims will continue to receive the specialist support they need to come to terms with what happened to them.
“We would always encourage anyone with information about this type of offending, or anyone who thinks they have been a victim to come forward and talk to us – we’re here for you and we will support you.”
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