November 2018

Paedophile pretended he was teen to speak to 100 young girls

A paedophile lied about his age as he groomed six teenage girls, demanding they send him indecent pictures of themselves, a court heard.

Leigh Jeffries was communicating with more than 100 young girls on social media, Manchester Crown Court was told.

He admitted having sexual communications with six girls, all of whom were under 16.

A judge said Jeffries ‘contaminated’ their young lives.

He has now been jailed for six years.

Jeffries, 33, pretended he was a teenager and used a fake picture to back up the lie.

He told some girls he wanted to have sex with them said he wanted to get one of his victims pregnant.

Jeffries never actually met up with any of the children, who don’t know each other.

The court was told that he became interested in minors after turning to internet pornography when he had relationship difficulties.

Prosecutors said that the girls were often introduced to Jeffries on group chats on social media including WhatsApp and Blackberry Messenger, before he spoke to them on privately.

At first they said he was ‘nice’ and supportive, but the talk later became sexual, the court heard.

One girl said she had fallen out with friends at school, and that he became a source of strength when she needed someone to talk to.

Another victim said they considered Jeffries to be her boyfriend.

As the conversation progressed, Jeffries demanded the girls send him indecent pictures. He later revealed his warped sexual fantasies.

“I want to be having loads of sex with you,” he told one girl.

One of the girls asked Jeffries if they could meet up, but he said he couldn’t because he had work commitments as a sports coach.

Another victim said Jeffries would ‘make threats’ if she didn’t reply to his messages.

After speaking to Jeffries for a while, one victim started to become suspicious, the court heard. She noticed pictures he had sent her didn’t seem to be of the same person.

The alarm was raised and the police became involved.

At first, Jeffries claimed his computer had been hacked, but he pleaded guilty when the case came before the Crown Court.

He admitted three counts of possessing indecent images of children and six counts of inciting or encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, one girl told how she now feels ‘disgusted’.

She said: “He was really nice, he cheered me up. He made me feel so special. He was a similar age to me, or so I thought.

“When I look back now I feel disgusted. I feel so cheated. It was so wrong what he did to me.

“I find it very hard to trust anyone.”

Defending, Henry Blackshaw said Jeffries of Essex Close, Failsworth, Oldham, had been struggling physically and mentally after surgery on his arm to try and alleviate problems caused by cerebral palsy.

He said this, in turn, led to problems with his partner of six-and-a-half years and that as the relationship broke down Jeffries began to watch internet pornography, then taking an interest in underage girls.

Mr Blackshaw said his client, originally from South Africa, came to the UK in 2010 to find work.

Addressing Jeffries as he passed sentence, Judge Martin Rudland said: “You lied about your age, you provided a false photograph and therefore induced young, impressionable teenage girls on the verge of sexual maturity to engage with you, which they did.

“You groomed them to become more willing and susceptible to provide you with sexual content.

“Your fantasy was their reality. That’s the serious element to this case.

“You have contaminated six young lives in their formative years.”