A paedophile who pretended to be a 15-year-old girl to coerce teenage boys to engage in sexual activity online has been jailed for four years.
Jamie Hopes was tracked down by officers from South Wales Police who traced a graphic video showing children engaging in sexual acts to his IP address.
The team executed a warrant at the 24-year-old's home in Maesteg, south Wales, in June 2018 – and were told by Hopes: “Yes, I know what you’re talking about, it will be on my mobile.”
Following a search of the address, officers seized a number of devices, two of which were subsequently found to contain more than 50,000 indecent videos and images of children.
The resulting investigation found that Hopes – who was a training sergeant with the Army Cadet Force and also regularly worked at family festivals as a registered door supervisor – had also shared a significant amount of the downloaded material with other online paedophiles.
Hopes also kept a file entitled “For Baiting” in which he kept photos and graphic videos of a teenage girl to deceive boys into believing he was a young girl.
Some 40 young victims are thought to have been targeted by his deception, the vast majority of whom were coerced in to carrying out sexual acts on film in the belief that they were sending them to a teenage girl.
Hopes pleaded guilty to 15 charges including causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, possession of indecent images of a child, distributing indecent images of a child and possession of extreme pornography.
On Friday, October 4, he was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. He was also made subject of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention order, which will prevent him contacting anyone under the age of 18, and impose stringent supervision by police and partner agencies upon his release from prison. He will also remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.
Detective Constable Carl Taylor said: “Hopes was prolific in his downloading and sharing of indecent images and videos of children, many of which were of the most extreme category.
“This in itself is not a victimless crime – real children will have been exploited and will have suffered in order to make that material; abuse which will have a lasting, lifelong impact on them.
“Hopes, however, went a step further in order to satisfy his depraved interests. He targeted dozens of teenage boys on popular social networking sites, gaining their trust by pretending to be a girl their own age, and grooming and manipulating them in to engaging in sexual acts.
“Our team have not been able to identify all of those affected by Hopes’ offending, but of those we’ve managed to trace, all have suffered greatly and the abuse has had a profound effect on them.
“I welcome this sentencing, and I hope it provides those victims with some closure and allows them to begin rebuilding their lives.”