October 2017

Online predator who hid behind fake identities stole schoolgirl’s innocence

A schoolgirl had her innocence “stolen” as she was threatened and blackmailed by a pervert over social media.

David Nelson Mitchell, of Carlisle, is today starting a jail term of nine years and four months for online offending which a judge described as “despicable, nasty and brutal”.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how the 49-year-old invented numerous fake internet identities as he stuck up conversations with two unassuming victims.

Prosecutor Claire Larton said one was aged “15 or 16” when she encountered Mitchell, who claimed to be “somebody by the name of Graham, 17 years old and living in Paris”.

They began direct Skype contact, although Ms Larton said: “She was visible to the defendant by a camera. He was never visible to her.”

Mitchell, of Granville Road, off Newtown Road, made repeated sexual requests of the girl, “several times a day, every day” for seven months during 2015.

Their online “relationship” then took a “sinister” twist as Mitchell introduced the girl to a new and apparently separate character called “Scott”.

The court heard that through “Scott”, Mitchell engaged in “very unpleasant” conversation, using blackmail as he threatened to expose her acts for “Graham” to others.

“I control you now,” she was told by “Scott”. “You need to call me boss.”

The distressing impact of Mitchell’s crimes against the girl was laid bare in a moving statement provided by her mother.

“She has left her old bubbly, happy life behind and started a new one where she is scared, shut off and untrusting,” her mum said.

“This man stole away my daughter’s innocence.”

When police were alerted, Mitchell’s three electrical devices were examined. These showed he had created nine separate fake profiles – four of which had been used in other criminal conversations with an unidentified girl aged under 15. He also saved indecent images of her.

Mitchell admitted two charges of causing a person to engage in sexual activity; two counts of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity; and three offences of making illegal images of a child.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Davies told Mitchell told him: “This was a particularly despicable, nasty, brutal course of conduct on which you embarked.”