A paedophile who preyed on young girls online and downloaded images of children being abused has been jailed for five years.
Billy James Woodfine, 22, from York, had warped sexual conversations with the children on social-media apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok and Snapchat.
Prosecutor Anne Richardson said police swooped on Woodfine’s home in Danebury Drive, Acomb, in January after receiving intelligence that he had been uploading indecent images of youngsters.
Officers seized his devices and brought him in for questioning, but Woodfine claimed he wasn’t sexually attracted to children. When he was asked about his Instagram account, he claimed it had been hacked.
Police initially found two prohibited or cartoon images of children and released him under investigation in February.
However, he was arrested again in April after further investigations showed he had been having sex chats with a young girl while on bail following his initial release from custody.
He admitted he had been chatting to the girl for three years and that he had indecent images of children on his devices.
Ms Richardson said Woodfine had been having “highly sexualised” chats with at least two other under-age girls.
He told one of the girls that he would like to meet up with her when she reached 16 years of age. The girl’s mother became aware of the chats and reported it to police in May.
In the meantime, forensic officers found dozens of indecent photos and videos on Woodfine’s devices, including some rated Category A – the worst kind of such material involving the sexual abuse of children.
One of the girls he had been talking to online had also sent him indecent images of herself.
Ms Richardson said there were “hundreds” of messages between them after Woodfine groomed and “coerced” the child to believe that this behaviour was natural.
He had deliberately targeted a “particularly vualnerable” child and had at one stage lied about his age, claiming he was 17 years’ old.
Admitted ten offences
Woodfine ultimately admitted ten offences including inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual communication with a child, making indecent images of children and possessing extreme-pornographic material.
He appeared for sentence on Thursday (3 August) after being remanded in custody.
His solicitor advocate Kevin Blount said Woodfine had a difficult upbringing and was “socially isolated”.
He said Woodfine had turned to “seeking out the company of those younger than himself” online because he “struggles to maintain intimate relationships”.
Judge Simon Hickey noted Woodfine’s “determination in undertaking these offences”.
“They are serious and they targeted a very vulnerable young girl who was corrupted,” he added.
Woodfine was given a five-year jail sentence but will only spend half of that time behind bars before being released on prison licence.
He was placed on the sex-offenders’ register for life and given a sexual-harm prevention order, which was also for an indefinite period and designed mainly to curb his internet activities.
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