NewsCrime World

Pervert posed as YouTuber Zoella to groom kids

Crime WorldBy Morgan Flanagan Creagh
David Harmes
David Harmes

20-year-old child sex predator pretended to be a Britain’s Got Talent contestant, a modelling agent and YouTube fashion vlogger Zoella Sugg, in order to groom kids online.

The pervert posed as characters like pop duo Bars and Melody, which would appeal to youngsters, in order groom them.

David Harmes was convicted of causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity and making and distributing indecent photographs of a child.

He was jailed for eight years after admitting 35 offences against 28 victims aged between eight and 18.

"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,” said Cheshire Police officer Simon Ledger.

"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.

"People like Harmes have no qualms with using the internet to their own perverse means."

The pervert was ordered to serve five years in jail and a further three years on license at Chester Crown Court.

"Harmes ruthlessly exploited these children for his own sexual gratification,” said prosecutor Wendy Newton.

"The girls, some as young as eight and nine, thought they were being offered the opportunity to be part of a modelling or dance company or were being given the chance to talk to a member of a famous pop group or fashion blogger.

"Harmes is yet another offender willing to use the internet and webcams to commit crimes. It is important that parents are aware of what their children are doing online and that they talk to them about the risks of interacting with people they don't know personally."