A UK man has pleaded guilty to a staggering 65 offences after targeting thousands of young women and girls online over a 17-month period, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Jordan Croft, 26, from West Sussex, sought out his victims on internet chat platforms, pretending to be a teenage boy, the UK agency for serious and organized crime said.
Once he had persuaded them to send a compromising photo, he blackmailed them into becoming his “sex slave” and demanded they perform increasingly degrading and sexual acts on themselves and others.
If they refused he would threaten to expose them to family and friends, the NCA said.
Photos and videos were apparently sent to him by the victims via the encrypted Telegram service.
Croft’s offenses are said to have begun in April 2018, and he was finally arrested in September 2019 after officers linked him to numerous online profiles related to reports of online abuse filed with police forces across England.
Investigators linked him to 20 online profiles across four different messaging platforms. Although the crimes Croft pleaded guilty to related to 26 victims aged 12-22, he’s said to have targeted 5000 people on one platform alone.
Croft took care to hide evidence of his wrongdoing. The abuse material sent by victims was encrypted on his mobile device and tagged with names and ages, along with a list of the victims’ social media followers.
Further indecent images of children were stored on a USB stick which ensured nothing was written to his computer’s hard disk, the NCA explained.
Croft apparently also told some victims he had a degree in cybersecurity and could not be traced by police.
“Like many offenders, Croft thrived on the power he was able to exert over the victims. He sought the feeling of control and obtained it by deceit and abuse,” said NCA senior investigating officer, Martin Ludlow.
“He showed no compassion for the victims, pushing them to breaking point and issuing threats, even when they begged him to stop. I commend these young women who have shown such bravery in speaking out against him.”