September 2016

‘Relentless’ paedophile used computer games to lure 200 girls into sex chats


A ‘relentless’ paedophile who targeted more than 200 young girls from across the country using computer games and social media has been jailed.

Damien Spratley, 30, set up a fake online profile as an ‘attractive’ young boy to contact girls with seedy chat and demands for naked photographs.

When police caught up with him, he was found with indecent images of children on various devices after what a judge called a devious “campaign” of offending.

And one horrified woman, whose partner found a smashed phone which Spratley had used, was disgusted to find a picture of a naked nine-year-old girl on its memory card.

Now he has been jailed for three years and 10 months after he admitted inciting a child into sexual activity and a series of indecent images offences.

Ros Scott Bell, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court : “This was a nationwide trawl by the defendant.

“My fair estimate is that in excess of 200 girls had been engaged in chat. I can’t say they are all underage, but some are clearly 12, 13 or 14.

“He persisted and asked them for photographs of themselves and spoke to them in a sexual way.

“He had created a fake profile and chose a picture of a attractive looking boy, who was a similar age to the girls.

“He appeared to be relentless.

“Clearly the number of girls who had been spoken to is a seriously aggravating feature of the case.”

Spratley came into contact with one 13-year-old after playing a Playstation 3 game with her relative.

He began talking to the youngster and asked to continue the conversation on Skype and Facebook . He then started demanding indecent pictures of her and talked about meeting her.

When the girl told her parents, Spratley was arrested and police found more than 250 indecent images on his laptop and phone, including some of the most serious type.

While Spratley was on bail, a workman in Hebburn found a smashed mobile lying on top of a bin.

When the man’s wife plugged the phone’s memory card into her tablet, she found pictures of a naked nine-year-old girl, as well as images of Spratley and his motorbike.

Further examination of the device revealed a further 50-plus indecent images of children.

Spratley, of Blackhill Crescent, Gateshead , admitted inciting the 13-year-old into sexual activity. He also asked for two similar offences in relation to a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old to be taken into consideration and pleaded guilty to 11 offences of making and possessing indecent images.

He was jailed for three years and 10 months and must sign the sex offenders register indefinitely and was given a 10 year sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Tim Gittins told him: “In a period since at least early 2014 you were clearly engaged in a campaign of seeking to be in contact with girls on various social media devices, who were often underage, well under 16, between 12 to 14.

“This was devious, deviant and persistent behaviour over a period of time and involved engaging with many many girls.”