A DANGEROUS internet predator has been jailed for five years after hacking into teenage girls’ Snapchat accounts and threatening to disclose their private photos unless they sent him naked pictures of themselves.

Robert Parsons was given a nine-year extended sentence at Bradford Crown Court this morning, the five-year custodial term being followed by a four-year closely monitored licence period.

The court heard that Parsons, 22, was “reliant if not addicted to using internet devices,” including the dark web and protective orders had not stopped his spate of offending.

He pleaded guilty to 24 sexual offences committed against seven girls who were strangers to him, between September, 2019, and May last year.

Parsons, formerly of Wyke, Bradford, but held in custody in HMP Leeds, hacked into Snapchat accounts belonging to the teenagers and made repeated demands for intimate photos.

Judge Andrew Hatton said he was “overwhelmingly” satisfied that he was a public danger, posing a significant risk of serious harm to young girls.

He labelled it “a catalogue of offending” beginning when Parsons was 20. In his teens, Parsons was convicted of possession of indecent images and distributing them and made the subject of a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which he had persistently breached.

 “This is regular, repeated offending,” Judge Hatton said. “The seven victims were all teenage girls who were unknown to you.”

A girl aged 15 had her Snapchat account hacked and Parsons “toyed with her” asking for nude photos. He threatened to send images of naked body parts to her contacts, suggesting untruthfully that they were pictures of her, if she did not comply.

Another girl was 14 or 15 when he hacked into her account. The police found four private images of her on his electronic devices that he had stolen when he controlled it.

A third girl was 16 when he hacked into her account and attempted to cause her to engage in sexual activity without her consent. He demanded naked photos but she refused.

Parsons then followed this pattern of behaviour with girls aged 17, 18 and 19.

“One can only imagine the trauma being experienced by these individuals when they realised you had control of their accounts,” Judge Hatton said.

Parsons teased one teenager, giving her limited access to her Snapchat account where he had moved private photos of her on to the public platform. When he demanded a video of her undressing in her school uniform, she went to the police.

Parsons made no comment in his police interviews.

His probation officer found that he was at a high risk of committing future sexual offending in the face of protective court orders.

 “Potential victims may be harmed physically or psychologically by his behaviour,” the report stated.

Earlier this week, prosecutor David McGonigal told the court that the victims were left frightened, embarrassed, stressed and feeling isolated,

The mother of one girl, who was 15 at the time, said she was popular and confident before the “horrific ordeal of being blackmailed” by Parsons. She now suffered panic attacks and severe anxiety and depression.

He had stolen her daughter’s innocence and she hoped his punishment would give all the girls some justice.

“I want that man to know that I am disgusted by him,” she stated.

Mr McGonigal said the 24 counts included causing a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access to a program or data, attempting to cause a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, disclosing private sexual photos without consent, breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, breach of the sex offender notification requirements and possession of indecent images of children.

Parsons’ barrister, Abdul Shakoor, said he found himself addicted to pornography and that led him down a path of social isolation.

He was an intelligent man offered a place at university to study computer-related engineering but his previous convictions had prevented him from going.

Parsons knew he had behaved appallingly and he was disgusted with himself, Mr Shakoor said.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Inspector Lee Speight, of Bradford Public Protection said: “Parsons poses a threat to young women and I am pleased that the court has acknowledged this risk in the custodial sentence and extended licence, which is welcomed.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the victims in this case and their families who have been very brave and understanding throughout the process and who had to attend court to give evidence.

“I would urge anyone who has been a victim of similar offending to report it to us. We have dedicated safeguarding officers here in Bradford who are specially trained to deal with such circumstances."