A teenager who blackmailed two boys into performing in sex acts has been locked up for five years.
Patrick Chidlow threatened to post indecent and embarrassing pictures and videos on the internet if the victims did not go to his home for sexual activity.
The 18-year-old university student also took topless screen shots of a young girl without her knowing and distributed them.
Chidlow targeted several children both on and offline
Chidlow, formerly of Dashwood Road, Gravesend, admitted 10 offences of causing a person or child to engage in sexual activity, two of blackmail, three of possessing indecent photographs of a child and one of distributing them.
His not guilty plea to a rape charge was accepted by the prosecution.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Chidlow contacted one boy on Facebook and asked him about his sexuality. He sent a picture of himself and encouraged the boy to send him an indecent photo.
“That started a pattern,” said prosecutor Stephen Shay.
Chidlow persuaded the boy to send him a picture of his private parts and then wanted a video of him performing a sex act.
When he refused, Chidlow threatened to put the picture up at his school.
About a month later Chidlow asked the boy to go to his house. He was reluctant but eventually did so. Chidlow told him he was interested in having a sexual relationship.
A few weeks later he contacted the boy again and when he refused threatened to put the video on Facebook. After more threats, the boy went to his house again.
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
Chidlow performed a sex act on him. He also got the boy to touch him. He then pretended to delete the video.
Mr Shay said the boy could see there were other videos of other people he knew on the computer.
Chidlow later told him he had not deleted the video and if he did not go to his house he would put it on Facebook.
“He promised it would be the last time,” said Mr Shay. “It wasn’t unfortunately.”
The boy went to his home and Chidlow performed a sex act on him again. Chidlow made various attempts to cajole the teenager into more sex acts, but failed.
“He told him he loved him, said his grandfather was dying of cancer and his parents were getting divorced,” said Mr Shay. “He even threatened to commit suicide.”
Chidlow threatened to post intimate pictures on Facebook
After more threats the boy’s mother noticed he was acting oddly and he told her part of what had been happening. The mother contacted Chidlow and asked him not to post the video on the internet.
She became aware of more details of what had been happening and contacted the police.
Mr Shay said it emerged Chidlow had behaved in a similar way with another boy. He contacted him on Facebook and sent text messages.
When the boy refused to send Chidlow a picture of himself, he threatened to spread rumours they were in a sexual relationship.
As a result the boy sent a picture of himself in boxer shorts. Chidlow then threatened that if the boy did not sent him a more intimate photo he would post the other picture on Facebook.
Chidlow videoed boys on a webcam
The boy gave in to the demand but Chidlow then insisted that the boy perform a sex act on webcam.
“He effectively gave him an ultimatum he had 10 minutes or the picture would be posted,” said Mr Shay.
“He complied and did so over a webcam.
“Several days later he tried to invite him to his home in the hope of sexual activity. He refused. The ordeal was ended by the mother of the other boy going to the police.
“That brought everything to an end.”
Mr Shay said Chidlow had also persuaded a girl aged 12 or 13 to remove her top on three occasions. She did not know he was taking screen shots of her.
Judge Jeremy Carey passed sentence at Maidstone Crown Court
He distributed some of the pictures. There were statements from other girls that Chidlow approached them to have photos taken.
Judge Jeremy Carey told Chidlow he had made one of the victims’ lives “utterly miserable and frightening to gratify your own sexual pleasure”.
The judge said the boy's life was seriously affected, resulting in poor exam results. It also had a devastating impact on his mother when she found out.
After his arrest 43 indecent images of children were found on his computer.
Chidlow’s name will appear on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and he will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.