Aldershot man jailed for ten years for possessing and distributing indecent photos
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A 36 year old man who pleaded guilty to 43 offences of possessing and distributing indecent images of young boys from all around the UK, was jailed for ten years when he appeared for sentence before Winchester Crown Court today, (Friday, June 5).
James Utting of St Michael's Road, Aldershot, admitted 43 offences relating to dates between June 7, 2016 and July 24, 2018.
He further admitted 116 offences to be taken into consideration.
As well as a ten year jail sentence, Utting will also have to go on an extended licence for five years on release.
The court heard that Utting posed as a 15 year old girl to induce the boys to send him images and video footage over social media.
On some occasions, he asked the victims to send more. If they refused, he threatened to share the images with their friends and family. In some cases, he carried out these threats, despite tearful pleas from the victims.
The victims were all boys aged between eight and 16 from locations around the UK including Humberside, Grimsby, Sussex, Leeds, Bradford, Southampton, Wakefield, Barnsley and Sheffield.
The charges relate to 11 victims but police found images of 401 boys, many of them still unidentified.
Victim impact statements from some of the victims and their families were read to the court demonstrating the ‘appalling’ consequences.
The threats to share the images and the public sharing of them in some cases, devastated some victims’ self esteem and caused panic, anxiety, depression, threats and humiliation. In one case, a victim threatened to end his own life as a result.
Sentencing Utting, Her Honour Judge Jane Miller QC said: “It’s right to say the impact statements showed the very real damage your actions caused the victims in this case.
“Actions that could affect their whole lives. It is only hoped the boys will be able to pick themselves up and move forwards after this. I hope they understand that it wasn’t their fault.
“The damage done was considerable. No court can risk that happening again. The public needs protection from you.”
Judge Miller also commended the Hampshire Constabulary officers involved in the complex and long running investigation.
The offences were:
* Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
* Causing a child to watch or look at an image of sexual activity
* Distributing an indecent image of a child
* Possessing an indecent image of a child
* Engaging in sexual communication with a child
Following the sentencing, Acting Detective Sergeant Wendy Harrison said: “Utting’s offences were so prolific and caused so much trauma and distress to so many young people right across the country. He targeted and exploited young and vulnerable boys by hiding his true identity behind a fake and digital persona.
“I just hope this sentence can now allow those young people and their families to move ahead with their lives.
“We cannot praise the victims enough for their courage and determination in coming forward and reporting what happened. Because of them, this person is now in custody for a significant period of time.
“I also hope this sentence will alert others to the dangers of the digital world and also encourage others who have suffered this type of abuse, no matter when it happened, to come forward and speak to us. We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and work hard to bring offenders to justice.”