One of Britain’s top judges has issued a warning to teenagers that sexting “has consequences” and could land them in jail.
Sir Brian Leveson made the comments whilst dealing with the case of a 19-year-old from Whittlesey who left an underage girl suicidal after targeting her online.
Cameron John Coles persuaded his “very vulnerable” teenage victim to send him sexual pictures of herself using Snapchat.
After receiving images of the schoolgirl topless and posing in lingerie, Coles threatened to publicly “humiliate” her. He told her he would post the “rude” pictures on Facebook if she didn’t send him more explicit pictures.
Heartless Coles, of Kings Delph, also shared the pictures the girl sent him with his friends.
Sir Brian, ruling on his case at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, issued a stern warning to Britain’s youngsters that “sexting” is far from harmless fun.
He told the court: “We have to protect girls against themselves and teenagers have to realise that conduct of this nature has consequences.”
Coles was jailed for 12 months at Peterbrough Crown Court in December last year after admitting three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He sent her 42 messages in all, the tone of which was described by Judge Sarah Munro QC as “extremely unpleasant and threatening.”
Lawyers for Coles argued that he ought to have got a suspended sentence or at least a shorter punishment.
But Judge Munro said that, although sexting might be common practice amongst youngsters, that does not make it acceptable.
The judge, sitting with Sir Brian and Mrs Justice McGowan, said that what Coles did “amounted to blackmail”.
His victim was already vulnerable and was being bullied when Coles made her life a misery.
His threats had a “horrific impact” on her and she “attempted to take her own life” three times, the court heard.