“A good example of the dangers the internet poses to young people” as man is sentenced for threatening to post explicit photos of teenage girl

Lincoln Crown Court.
Lincoln Crown Court.

A former public schoolboy was given a suspended sentence at Lincoln Crown Court after he threatened to distribute explicit photos of a teenage girl on Facebook unless she handed over £100 and had sex with him.

Alistair Wilson, who was a pupil at a boarding school in West Sussex, also made a similar threat for sex from a second girl.

A judge at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday January 10) ordered Wilson, who had originally faced the charges at Boston Magistrates’ Court, to pay compensation of £3,500 and £2,500 to his two victims.

Wilson, now 20, of Guildford, Surrey, was also sentenced to eight months custody suspended for 18 months and must complete 100 hours of unpaid work with a rehabilitation requirement of up to 10 days.

He was also given a lifetime restraining order banning him from making contact with either girl.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Wilson had previously exchanged nude photos with one of the girls while “sexting” and then threatened to distribute the images unless she gave him £100.

During a drunken 4,30am phonecall Wilson told the girl he wanted sex or “I’ll post pictures on Facebook,” the court was told.

Andrew Vout, prosecuting, said: “She asked him if he was serious and he made the threat again.

“She said to him that even if she agreed to have sex how could she get to him. He said that was her problem.

“He said ‘I want £100 in my bank account by Tuesday’

“She told him she was skint. He said ‘sleep with me or I will send them’. She hung up.”

Mr Vout said that later the same day the girl Facebooked Wilson telling him she would not sleep with him and warned him he was breaking the law by threatening her. Wilson then changed his attitude saying he was sorry for what he had done.

The prosecutor said that when the girl first had contact with Wilson she found him “charming and funny but manipulative”.

“She sent him numerous pictures and videos. Over time he persuaded her to send them. He also sent her pictures of himself and a video of himself masturbating.”

The girl revealed the blackmail threat to one of her teachers and police became involved.

Wilson was later arrested but made no comment when questioned by police.

The court heard Wilson was also involved in “sexting” with a second teenage girl who sent him a naked picture and three topless photos of herself.

Mr Vout said “Later they were talking online. He said he wanted to have sex with her. He said ‘what if they [the photos] were to fall into the wrong hands’”

Wilson went on to tell her “sometimes having leverage is very useful”

He then said “Sleep with me and I’ll delete the images”.

Wilson admitted blackmail and sending a threatening electronic communication to his first victim in August 2015. He also admitted sending a threatening electronic communication to the other girl in the following month.

Recorder Mann, passing sentence, told him “This case provides a good example of the dangers the internet poses to young people and how the exchanging of explicit photographs can have unintended consequences. The internet provides a medium where young people do or say things they would never say in public.

“Your treatment of these girls has harmed each of them. Each of them has learned a hard lesson about what they send to others on the internet.

“It is apparent from the character references that the way you behaved online to each of these girls is completely at odds with the way you normally behave.

“Blackmail is a particularly nasty offence and will inevitably attract a custodial sentence. The only question is whether there is enough mitigation to suspended that sentence.

“I am satisfied that on balance that there is sufficient mitigation for me to stay my hand. You have learned your lesson and you have had repercussions such as the withdrawal for now of your university place.

“Don’t you dare do this again because to prison you will go.”

Alister Smith, in mitigation, said “The sending of these pictures was both consensual and mutual. It is a common phenomenon between teenagers to engage in sexting.

“He offers a genuine, sincere and public apology.

“These offences are not the product of calculated criminality and malevolence on the part of the defendant. They betray a profound emotional immaturity.”

He said Wilson was extremely drunk when he made the blackmail threat and has no recollection of the incident.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Thanks to his victims’ courage in speaking out, justice has been served on Wilson who maliciously blackmailed and threatened teenage girls.

“This case highlights the serious risks associated with sharing nude selfies, which can put young people at risk of bullying by peers or being targeted by adult sex offenders.

“It’s important for young people to feel empowered to say no to sexting requests and last year the NSPCC published a guide for parents to help them talk to their children about sexting.”