Carpet salesman paedophile used Instagram to sexually groom girls as young as 10
A paedophile used Instagram to groom girls as young as 10 into sending indecent pictures.
Carpet salesman Stephen Jardine, 28, posed as a 17-year-old girl and an 18 year-old boy to lure girls on the photo-sharing site.
Jardine was a registered sex offender who had been banned from using the internet and contacting children after convictions for making child abuse images.
He also had a secret family in a relationship hidden from his police watchers but the mother of his baby died.
Prosecutor Richard Bennett told Teesside Crown Court that Jardine’s Instagram activities were exposed by a distressed 13 year-old girl in West Yorkshire who reported him to a police inspector visiting her school.
She handed over her phone and in one message he said that he wanted to have sex with her.
Crime analysts were able to trace Jardine to his home in Thornaby.
Police arrested him there at 5.50am on May 17 and found a number of electronic devices in his wardrobe.
He had 902 contacts on one Instagram account, many of young girls, inciting them to commit sexual offences.
They included a 10 year-old and an 11 year-old.
He also had child abuse images on a tablet computer.
Mr Bennett said: “He said that he had created two Instagram accounts to find girls for his own sexual gratification.
“He said that he had contact with 45 young girls.”
Mr Bennett said that on May 15 Jardine was in contact on Facebook-owned Instagram with a 10-year-old girl who he attempted to incite into sexual activity.
Two days later another girl contacted him telling him “ to stop being a creep to my little sister asking her to take her clothes off”.
Jardine made similar approaches to 11-year-old girl twins which were rebuffed, but he threatened another girl that he would post her earlier replies to sexual questions if she “blocked” his future contacts.
Andrew Turton, defending, said that it was incitement over the internet rather than grooming for a meeting.
Judge Peter Armstrong said: “These were attempts or incitement. You were attempting effectively to blackmail or frighten them to comply with your requests.
“These young girls were clearly frightened, and fortunately one young girl had the sense to come forward and report your activities to the police.”
Jardine, of Pacific Drive, Thornaby, was jailed for three years, banned from contact with children, and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.
He pleaded guilty to two sets of offences of breaching a previous sexual harm prevention order and notification requirements, possessing indecent images of children and inciting or attempting to cause sexual activity with a child under 13 and under 16.
Paedophile used Instagram to groom children into sending indecent pictures
A paedophile used Instagram to groom children into sending indecent pictures – but finding his victims could take months due to delays with Facebook, a court heard.
Stephen Jardine, 28, is now behind bars after using the photo sharing site to target underage youngsters.
He has now admitted nine child sex crimes and could face more charges.
But his case could be held up by inquiries with Instagram’s owner Facebook, Teesside Crown Court heard today.
Prosecutor Richard Bennett said: “The defendant had been involved in a number of conversations with other children over Instagram, inciting other children to send photographs and the like.
“The request for their details has been sent. Instagram is owned by Facebook . Facebook is a non-European company. It could be anywhere up to four to five months before the identity of the children is known to the police.”
In the current case, he said, it took six months to have information passed on to Cleveland Police .
“That’s the position the prosecuting authorities are dealing with,” added Mr Bennett.
Jardine pleaded guilty to two charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempting to do so.
He requested indecent images from an underage girl, the court was told.
He also admitted failing to comply with notification requirements as a sex offender by using a name without notifying police.
He admitted two charges of breaching a sexual offences prevention order imposed by Teesside magistrates in January last year.
He had unauthorised contact with an underage girl and used an internet-capable device without making it available to police.
Finally he admitted three offences of making indecent photographs of children – a total of 1,454 illegal images.
Jardine, of Pacific Drive, Thornaby , appearing in court via videos to Holme House Prison, committed the crimes between July last year and May this year, breaching a suspended prison sentence.
Mr Bennett added: “The case needs to go off for a pre-sentence report to consider dangerousness.
“It’s a long prison sentence on any view. He’ll want to know his fate as soon as possible.
“The new matters don’t appear to be likely to be contested because he’s made admissions.
“There also appears to be the suggestion he’s been exchanging images of children with another adult. That also needs to be looked at.”
Judge Sean Morris remanded Jardine in custody until a further hearing and possible sentence on August 11.