A 30-YEAR-OLD man posed as a young Justin Bieber look-a-like online to lure schoolgirls from Coventry and across the UK into sending him indecent webcam images.
Yohann Ramchelawon used his bogus Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook profiles to groom girls aged between 12 and 17.
He quickly steered the chats towards intimate subjects and requests for naked images.
Some of his victims were also coerced into performing sex acts in front of webcams after Mauritius-born Ramchelawon threatened to share the images they’d provided with friends and family.
He was also convicted of penetration and sexual assault against a six-year-old Coventry girl in October last year.
He was jailed for 15 years on Monday (September 18) at Stafford Crown Court.
West Midlands Police picked up the enquiry after an IP address used to message a 12-year-old Manchester girl was traced to a house in Walsall.
Detectives eventually traced him to an address in Victoria Lane, Huddersfield, where he was arrested on March 6.
Hundreds of indecent images were found on his digital devices as officers uncovered victims from Coventry and Walsall in the West Midlands, plus Lanark in Scotland, Liverpool, St Ives, Shoreham-by-sea and East Ham, London, as well as abroad.
Ramchelawon − who gave his home address as Walls Street, Halifax, when arrested − was convicted of two counts of inciting a 12-year-old girl to engage in sex acts online, eight charges of possessing indecent images of children, and two of distributing the images.
Detective constable Kerry Haywood said: “He used various aliases including Ryan Smith and ‘Santiago’ and claimed to be a teenager who was sending messages during school or college lessons.
“He sent poems, would call them ‘baby’ and tell them he loved them after chatting online for little more than a day.
“The enquiry started when a girl from Manchester reported to police that a boy named Ryan was asking for intimate images. The investigation soon snowballed and we identified many more victims and online conversations with girls in different countries.
“I’d like to thank that 12-year-old girl for breaking her silence and putting her faith in the police. It’s helped us put a calculating sex predator behind bars and undoubtedly protected other girls for falling into his trap.”
And DC Haywood urged parents to play an ‘intrusive’ role in their children’s online activity.
She added: “Parents shouldn’t feel awkward asking their children what they’re up to online and who they’re conversing with on social media. Perhaps have an agreement that they only use the internet in an overt manner, in the living room, rather than squirreled away in their bedrooms.
“And ask whether your child really needs a webcam in their bedroom? If a child is persuaded to expose themselves in front of a camera then they’ve lost control of that image or video and it could be floating around online forever.”
The national Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP) team has developed a website − Think You Know − which provides useful web safety advice and a guide on how to report concerns about people you’re chatting to online… www.thinkuknow.co.uk