A teenager posed as a girl on Facebook and succeeded in luring several other young boys into sending him nude photos. The A-Level student, Thomas Pryce, 19, set up fake identities to befriend the youngsters before persuading them to send explicit pictures and carry out sexual acts online. According to the Birmingham Mail, the sickening deception was only uncovered after the mother of one of his victims alerted the police when she discovered her son had been targeted. Pryce was eventually arrested at his family home in Hereford, West Mids, after what is understood to have been more than five years of abuse. He admitted 29 offences at Birmingham Crown Court on February 16 and will be sentenced at the same court on May 13.
Pryce pretended to be a young girl to target teenage boys online and would later ask for indecent images. Some were also persuaded to carry out sexual acts online. It is understood a number of recorded clips of victims were found during the police investigation. The probe began after one concerned mum contacted police in September 2013 after discovering her adolescent son had been snared by an unidentified online sex predator. The mum told how her son had been in contact with a Facebook user with the surname Smith since July of that year.
Pryce, posing as a girl, had asked the boy to send him indecent pictures of himself and in return had sent indecent images of a female. But when the young victim ended their exchanges, Pryce threatened to publish intimate pictures of the boy.
West Mercia Police investigated and the fake ‘girl’s’ online account was traced to a Herefordshire pub, the family home of Pryce. But because the pub had free wifi, detectives could not be sure who the culprit was. The breakthrough came six months later when police discovered the same account used by Pryce had been activated after closing time.
Police arrested Pryce and seized computers and phones for forensic analysis. They discovered he had used multiple bogus online profiles and had targeted more than 80 young people. At the time of his arrest, he was studying A-levels at Hereford Sixth Form College, from which he was suspended last May.
The teenage sex offender pleaded guilty to 29 specimen offences at Birmingham Crown Court on February 16, but it is understood a lengthy police investigation identified more than 80 young people who he had targeted.
The West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service confirmed a number of offences involving other victims will be taken into consideration at sentencing at the same court on May 13.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm that the current charges are specimens. We are currently working with the police to confirm the precise number of victims.”
West Mercia Police declined to comment ahead of sentencing.