Man faked identity to extort intimate photos from teen on Instagram
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
A former Suffolk man has been handed a suspended jail term for threatening to publish private photos of a teenage girl unless she sent more explicit images.
Matthew Collins lured the stranger into sending intimate photos to a fake social media account last year.
Pretending to be a woman called Tonii Hutson, Collins initiated the scam by sending a message saying 'Hello girl x' to the 19-year-old's account last year.
After engaging his victim in conversation, the 24-year-old sent fake photos, copied from the web, of a woman's legs in a bath.
At Collins' request, the girl responded by sending photos of her own body - one of which he captured by taking a screenshot.
You may also want to watch:
Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard how communication suddenly stopped as Tonii Hutson's account was deactivated.
Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said contact resumed on October 3, when Collins sent a message as Tonii Hutson, threatening to post the screenshot online unless the girl sent more photographs.
- 1 Film crews shooting new Netflix film in Suffolk village
- 2 Two mega prisons for 3,500 inmates set to be built near RAF base
- 3 Suffolk-based former Marine found dead after 10-month disappearance
- 4 Five people injured in 'violent disorder' at Newmarket racecourse
- 5 Overturned trailer causing delays on roundabout near Bury St Edmunds
- 6 Town sign 6ft 5ins striker as Nsiala, Jackson and Barry all start for U23s
- 7 Aldi to open 100 new supermarkets with eyes on four towns in Suffolk
- 8 Air ambulance called to incident on Bury St Edmunds estate
- 9 Tankers on their way to Suffolk as the government unveils action plan
- 10 Fiat 500 on its side after crash in Woodbridge
"He was essentially blackmailing her," said Mr Ablett.
"She wanted to be reassured the original images would be deleted.
"He promised to show her a video of the images being deleted, so she sent eight further images.
"Once sent and received, contact again ceased."
The victim tried to contact the profile, with no success, so turned to her local Scottish police force, which followed the trail to an address in Haverhill, Suffolk, where Collins' ex-girlfriend was arrested on suspicion of being responsible.
When further enquiries established Collins had resided at the address during the summer, he was tracked down and arrested.
After being shown evidence, he accepted creating the account, using the image of an "attractive female" he found on Twitter.
Collins, now of Lincoln Road, Basildon, admitted sending a threatening communication at an earlier hearing in August.
On Monday, he was handed a suspended 12-week sentence and ordered to pay £600 compensation to his victim, who Mr Ablett said had suffered significant fear the images would be posted "for the world to see".
Collins, who must also carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and complete 10 rehabilitation activity sessions, told the court: "I just want to say I'm sorry. I'm just so sorry for that young girl. If I could take it back, I really would."