‘Vile’ web groomer jailed for 10 years

Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Evans was told he had displayed “perverted and distorted thinking”

A “vile and perverted” man who groomed a string of young girls online has been jailed for 10 years after admitting 21 child sex offences.

John Paul Evans, 52, posed as a 19-year-old to lure girls as young as 11 into stripping and performing sex acts, Teesside Crown Court was told.

Almost 20,000 child abuse images were also found on devices seized from his home in Billingham, Teesside.

Evans contacted almost 3,000 girls from several countries, the court heard.

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The judge said Evans had displayed “perverted and distorted thinking”.

The offences took place between 2011 and 2017.

Evans admitted:

  • Four counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity
  • Five counts of causing a child to watch a sexual act
  • One count of possession of indecent images of a child
  • One count of sexual communication with a child
  • Five counts of distribution of indecent images of a child
  • Three counts of making indecent images of a child
  • One count of possession of a prohibited image of a child
  • One count of possession of an extreme sexual image

The court was told Evans distributed pictures and videos he obtained to others via private forums and chat rooms.

Image caption Investigator Shaun Storey said Evans had devastated the lives of his victims

In a victim impact statement read out in court, one girl, now 14, said Evans blackmailed her and threatened to end their friendship if she did not send him explicit photos and videos of herself.

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She said: “I was only 11 when I started talking to him. I thought he liked me, but I now realise what he was doing.

“I couldn’t tell anyone, he told me to keep it secret.”

Senior investigating officer Shaun Storey of Cleveland Police said: “Evans has devastated the lives of these young people. It has been very traumatic for them.

“They believed in him, they trusted him and he was able to get them to do degrading things for his pleasure.”

Evans was arrested last year as part of an operation by the National Crime Agency.

Sentencing Evans, Judge Peter Armstrong told him: “You groomed these innocent children who felt obliged to carry out these serious acts as a result of your perverted and distorted thinking.

“This was vile activity of a serious kind.”

Evans was also given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which bans him from making contact with children under 16, and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

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