Irish man accused of using fake model agency to coax women into online sex acts
A Derry man has appeared in court accused of using a fake modelling agency to persuade women to commit sex acts.
Ryan Eastwood, 23, allegedly set up a Facebook account to contact 16 victims and "interview" them on Skype, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.
His first alleged target ended up naked and carrying out a sex act, a detective told Limavady Magistrates' Court in Northern Ireland.
At least one other woman engaged in a similar action.
Detective constable Paul Robinson said: "The females have been left very traumatised, leaving some of them seeking medical help and counselling."
The offences occurred this year and last.
The accused restaurant worker from Grasmere Mews in Coleraine in Co Derry was linked in court to an account of a Shannon Donnelly on Facebook, listed as recruiting models.
One victim told police she spoke to a man with an Irish accent who called himself Matthew and held a Skype "interview" last year, Mr Robinson said.
The encounter began with the woman posing fully clothed, then in underwear and then naked, subsequently leading to her carrying out a sex act, the detective said.
Upon further investigation, officers have connected him to 15 other women, although most didn't engage in sexual behaviour.
Eastwood is suspected of 16 charges, including causing a person to engage in a sexual act without consent and improper use of electronic communications to cause anxiety.
Police identified the internet provider used by the person calling himself Matthew and linked it to the accused's address.
He told detectives he had not used Skype since he was 16 and denied any knowledge of the offences.
He also denied any knowledge of the Facebook account.
When police searched his devices, they located 17,500 images of women, most deleted but still stored as thumbnails.
The detective constable said: "It became more apparent that we had a number of other potential victims."
Police contacted a company in London called UK Models, which the suspect allegedly based his fake agency on.
The firm provided investigators with details of 20 women who had contacted them reporting similar cases.
Police said they could connect the accused to 15 of these.
Eastwood argued that someone was setting up these accounts in his name.
A judge released him on bail of £500 to appear at Coleraine Magistrates' Court on May 8.
The defendant was ordered to report regularly to police and not to access the internet.