A ‘sex predator’ posed as a Justin Bieber lookalike before luring schoolgirls into sending him indecent images over webcams.
Yohann Ramchelawon, 30, was arrested in Huddersfield and brought to justice thanks to the courage of a 12-year-old schoolgirl.
She told police that someone she believed was a boy called ‘Ryan Smith’ had asked her during an online chat to send him naked pictures.
It emerged that Ramchelawon concealed his true identity behind a photo of a teenage boy he took from the internet.
He also used bogus social media profiles, in which he claimed to be a lookalike of the pop star, as well as many aliases to groom children across the country.
The NSPCC said the disturbing case was a ‘stark reminder’ of the dangers of sexual predators on social media and called on the government to draw up stringent rules for all companies and an independent regular ‘with teeth’ to monitor them.
Ramchelawon, who was arrested in Huddersfield in March, was convicted of two counts of inciting a girl to engage in sexual acts, eight counts of possessing indecent images of children and two of distributing the images. He was also convicted of sexual assaulting a six-year-old girl and at Stafford Crown Court, jailed for 15 years.
Ramchelawon, who claimed he was from Halifax, used Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook to speak to girls aged as young as 12. He steered conversations towards intimate subjects and told them to send him images of themselves naked.
Some victims were also coerced into performing sex acts in front of webcams after the Mauritius-born paedophile threatened to share the images they had sent with friends and family.
West Midlands Police launched an investigation after an IP address he used to message the 12-year-old girl from Manchester was traced to a house in Walsall.
Police went on to find hundreds of indecent images on digital devices in his possession and uncovered victims from across the UK.
Subsequent follow up examinations of his computer and phone revealed he had contacted girls living as far away as New Zealand, Brazil and Russia.
Detective Constable Kerry Haywood praised the Manchester schoolgirl’s bravery.
She said: “It’s helped us put a calculating sex predator behind bars and undoubtedly protected other girls for falling into his trap.”
“He used various aliases including Ryan Smith and ‘Santiago’ and claimed to be a teenager who was sending messages during school or college lessons. He sent poems, would call them ‘baby’ and tell them he loved them after chatting online for little more than a day.
“However, he quickly steered the chats to intimate subjects and persuaded them to take their clothes off − and he then used these naked images to blackmail them into sending more explicit pictures and videos.”