June 2017 – Finnie will be released on 14/6/17
Snapchat predator jailed for online sexual harassment of young girls
A Snapchat predator has been jailed for luring underage girls into sending him naked pictures after pestering them with messages on the hugely popular teen website.
Aaron Finnie ensnared 11 different girls aged 13 to 15 into sending or receiving indecent images after spending hours trawling Facebook and other social networks for potential victims
He concentrated on those living close to his home in Devon and tried to arrange meetings or sleepovers with them, Exeter Crown Court was told.
He had to be escorted off school premises after turning up at an after-hours club and trying to take a 15-year-old schoolgirl home with him
Finnie used emotional blackmail to force the girls to comply, telling them he would commit suicide and even sending one a picture of him holding a gun to his head.
His technique was to look for girls on Facebook, then move his messaging to Snapchat, where images are not recorded permanently. He also used the Whatsapp site to contact girls.
Police found 7,000 pages of Facebook messages on his computer and believe he may have been involved in sexualised conversations with many more girls.
He was arrested and bailed twice with conditions not to contact girls on the internet but carried on doing so until he was finally remanded in custody earlier this year.
Finnie, 20, of Hartley Road, Paignton, admitted eight counts of sending indecent messages, six of causing under age girls to send him images, and one of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was jailed for three years by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, who ordered him to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which will allow police to monitor his use of the internet on his release.
He told him: “You befriended 11 girls who were under 16 online and asked them to send you indecent photographs, despite knowing their ages. You also sent indecent images of yourself.
“You threatened to commit suicide and sent a picture of you holding a gun to your head. Can you imagine the stress that would have put upon a young girl. She must have been very, very distressed.
“These are serious offences and are all the more reprehensible because you continued to offend in the same way in deliberate and obvious breach of your bail conditions.”
Joss Ticehurst, prosecuting, said: “He befriended girls on Facebook and Snapchat, sending images of his erect penis and seeking to obtain photographs of them in return. There were 11 girls who were treated in this way.
“It appears there has been more extensive contact with other young girls but they do not appear on the indictment.
“There were 7,000 pages of Facebook conversations with young females and he was a prolific Facebook user who was looking for girls to make friend requests to.
“There were numerous Facebook conversations going on with a number of different people at the same time which were all of a sexual nature and indicated he was seeking to meet girls.”
Once Finnie made contact with girls he suggested moving the conversations to Snapchat so they could exchange photographs.
He said Finnie sent some of the girls indecent pictures of himself with messages such as “please help me” and “turn me on”. He met some of the girls and one had to ask a teacher to remove him from school premises when he turned up at an activity evening.
Mr Ticehurst said many of the girls were upset and flustered by his demands for pictures and shocked and frightened by his threats to commit suicide.
Jeffrey Segan, defending, said a psychiatric report had concluded Finnie was of lower than average intelligence, immature for his age, and his behaviour showed a compulsive tendency.
He said the police were able to trace many of the girls because of the help which Finnie gave them and he had not tried to hide what he was doing, even when he was in breach of his bail conditions.
He urged the Judge to send his client on an internet sex offenders treatment programme in the community rather than send him to jail.