Tuesday, 17 May 2016

David Harmes admitted 35 offences against 28 victims, aged eight to 18, after posing as people he thought they looked up to.
17:01, UK,Tuesday 17 May 2016
Undated handout photo issued by Cheshire Police of sex predator David Harmes,
An online predator who pretended to be beauty and fashion blogger Zoe Sugg, known as Zoella, has been jailed for eight years for grooming children.
David Harmes, 20, lured young girls into performing sex acts by posing as well-known names he thought would appeal to them.
He claimed to be YouTube star Zoella as well as a member of boy band Bars And Melody and a modelling agent.
Harmes, from Regent Street, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire would contact victims across the UK by Skype using the false identities and coerce them into sex acts.
DC Simon Ledger of Cheshire Police, said: "Harmes duped young girls into thinking they were talking to people they looked up to and in some cases posed as a modelling agency representative so that he could manipulate them for his own pleasure.
"It is a timely reminder that while the internet is an amazing tool, it has a darker side which we need to be mindful of and shows just how imperative it is that parents are aware of the sites their children are accessing and who they are communicating with.
YouTube blogger Zoe Sugg, known as Zoella, poses during a photocall for her debut novel "Girl Online" in London
"People like Harmes have no qualms with using the internet to their own perverse means."
Harmes admitted 35 offences against 28 victims, aged eight to 18, and also asked for a further four offences to be taken into consideration.
The offences include causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity and making and distributing indecent photographs of a child.
He did not meet up with any of the victims.
Harmes was jailed for eight years at Chester Crown Court on Monday and ordered to serve five years behind bars and three years out on licence.
Zoella, 26, is hugely influential on social media and her main YouTube channel has 10 million subscribers. She has also released two books and appeared on television.
Advice on internet safety and security, including social networking and chatrooms is available at www.getsafeonline.org.