September 2017

Man ‘manipulated’ children to send him indecent images

A man who posed as a teenage boy to “manipulate” girls as young as 10 into sending him indecent images and videos has been jailed for two years.

A court heard Francis Burns claimed to be a 15-year-old boy on social networking apps Kik and SayHi.

Burns, 45, of Dundee, threatened to post one victim’s images on Facebook if she did not send him more photos of herself.

Burns admitted eight charges committed in July and August last year.

The court was told that two of the girls were aged 10 and the other two victims were 12.

Depute fiscal John Adams told Dundee Sheriff Court: “It was obvious from her photos that the first complainer was a child.”

The girl eventually blocked Burns on Kik, but he found her on another app and said: “Facebook is getting these tonight.”

Mr Adams said the girl told her father, who contacted police.

He said: “The mobile phone used was traced to the accused and further indecent images and conversations came to light, leading to other victims being identified.”

Defence advocate Drew McKenzie said: “Initially he understood these girls to be at least 14 years old or over.

“But as it developed, he knew or must have known they were under 14 and he did not immediately disengage.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown imposed a two-year prison sentence and a year’s extended licence once Burns is released.

Burns was also placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

Sheriff Brown said: “On any view these were serious offences. Your victims were children.

“It may be that you at first didn’t understand the ages of these children but there did come a point at which you did and you did not disengage.

“On the contrary, you manipulated and pressured them in to sending you indecent photos.

“It is an outrage that children of these tender years should be pressured and cajoled into sending indecent photos to anybody, in particular to a man of your years.”

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