May 2021

Pervert offered ’12-year-old girl’ £150 for naked pictures and then tried to blackmail her

A man offered to pay what he believed were 12-year-old girls to send him naked pictures of themselves.

Dean Jeffreys contacted his targets on social media, and began grooming them and trying to get them to take intimate photographs and to engage in sexual activity.

But the 25-year-old was actually communicating with undercover investigators working as part of a policing operation targeting online offenders.

Swansea Crown Court heard that in November and December 2019 Jeffreys approached what appeared to be young girls called Holly and Sophie on the Kik platform.

Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said Holly and Sophie were actually decoy profiles being run by adults working for National Crime Agency.

He said the decoys made it clear to Jeffreys they were aged just 12 but he began asking them if they wanted £150, and asked them to send him intimate photos of themselves in return for the money, money he said he would send via Amazon or PayPal accounts.

When the “girls” expressed concerns about doing what he was asking the defendant promised them they would be safe, and told them it would be their “little secret”.

Mr Scapens said Jeffreys effectively “begged” one of the girls for pictures, saying to her “please, please, please with a cherry on top”.

The court heard Jeffreys was particularly persistent with the decoy called Sophie, repeatedly putting pressure on her to send pictures and calling her his “little princess”, and saying they were in a relationship.

He also engaged in a series of sexualised phone conversations with her.

The prosecutor said that at one stage Sophie sent a photograph to Jeffreys – actually a picture of the exposed midriff of a woman over 18 but who looked much younger – and the defendant then started using that image to try to blackmail the decoy.

Mr Scapens said the defendant embarked on a “campaign of grooming, bullying, harassment and threats” which saw him repeatedly telling Sophie he would post the image on Facebook for all her friends to see unless she sent him more intimate pictures.

Jeffreys then began telling the decoy she was his “slave” and had to do what he told her, and saying she would be “rewarded for being good or be punished for being a bad girl”.

The prosecutor said that throughout all this, the defendant had genuinely believed he was talking to a 12-year-old girl.

The court heard that police traced the address linked to the phone number Jeffreys had been using, and then went to the property in Llanelli where he was living with his parents and other family members.

When challenged by police the defendant told them about an app he had been using which was “just role playing”, adding: “I don’t know why but it turns me on.”

Jeffreys, of Princess Court, Llanelli, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted sexual communication with a child, and two counts of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

Judge Geraint Walters said a pre-sentence report had concluded that Jeffreys potentially posed a danger to children, and he said he hoped work could be undertaken in the custodial setting which would reduce that risk.

In coming to his sentence the judge said he had in mind a recent ruling from the Court of Appeal about cases involving decoys rather than real children, and about the intended harm of the offending not the actual harm caused.

He said the message needed to be heard that as a result of the decision of the court people who engaged in such behaviour could now expect sentences which were “significantly longer” than before.

Giving Jeffreys the required one-third discount for his guilty pleas the judge sentenced him to two years and four months in prison.

The defendant will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence under the UK government’s early release scheme to serve the remainder in the community.

Jeffreys will be a registered sex offender for the next 10 years, and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order to control his access to the internet for a similar length of time.

Judge Walters also called the delay in the case coming to court “unacceptable”.