July 2018

Coventry paedophile who made social media accounts to groom children jailed for 15 years

A paedophile from Coventry who hijacked a teenage boy’s social media profile and used it to groom children has been jailed for 15 years.

The sentencing follows a West Midlands Police investigation that led detectives to uncover victims as far afield as the United States.

Coventry man Benjamin Reynolds posed as a girl on an internet chat site to trick a 14-year-old boy into sending him indecent images.

Police say the 30-year-old created fake Skype profiles using the boy’s bio, plus photos ripped from his Facebook and Instagram accounts, and used them to trick girls aged from 12 to 16-years-old into believing they were messaging a teenage boy.

Manipulative Reynolds − who in one message to a victim admitted “I get off on the power” − persuaded the children to send him indecent images and perform sex acts in front of webcams.

It’s understood he got away with abusing children online for almost a decade − keeping victims quiet with threats to share intimate images among their friends and family − until a 16-year-old girl reported to US police she’d been groomed.

An email address linked to a fake Skype profile was traced to Grangemouth Road in the Radford area of Coventry and on May 5 2016 officers from West Midlands Police’s Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team raided the address.

Unemployed Reynolds was arrested and computer and media storage devices seized from his bedroom.

Forensic examination of the hardware revealed more than 23,000 indecent images of children and more than 300 videos dating between December 2007 and May 3 2016.

Some of the files included distressing images and videos of young children being abused.

And investigators also found notes he’d written to himself including one that read: “Relax, you are never going to meet her you are never going to date her, if she knew who you were she would never be interested in you.”

In police interview, Reynolds admitted possessing indecent images

And at Warwick Crown Court on Thursday (July 5) he was jailed for 15 years having admitted three charges of making indecent images of children, five of inciting children to engage in sexual activity, one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, plus four counts of blackmail.