Earlier last month, former St Andrews student Glen Wilson was sentenced to three-and-a-half years of detention, for blackmailing girls as young as 12 into sending sexually explicit images and videos over social media.
The 19-year-old, who comes from a privately-educated background in Dundee, pled guilty to 23 out of 49 charges relating to eight girls between the ages of 12 and 15. He was found to be in possession of 697 images, and 246 videos depicting children in a pornographic manner.
Using a series of aliases – one being “Alex Moore” – over social sites such as Snapchat, Instagram, Skype and Twitter, Wilson initially befriended the girls by pretending to be of a similar age. He then encouraged them to send images of themselves in increasing states of undress, and threatened to expose them to friends and family if they refused to continue.
His demands escalated until the girls were forced to violate themselves on camera with household objects, such as a toothbrush. Wilson also distributed the explicit material online, collaborating with other paedophiles in an attempt to attain more victims.
The cyber-crimes were committed between September 2015 and June 2016, with victims ranging from London, Wales, Derby, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Several messages of a threatening nature read “Block me, delete me, report me, tell your parents – do any of these things and I will press the send button,” and “You have two options: You either do what I ask or I send”.
Another child was told “I don’t want to ruin your life, but I will if you make me.”
After almost a year, Wilson was finally exposed when one girl confided in her parents, and another reported his actions to ChildLine services.
“Everyone you know will see everything and your friends and family will think of you as a slut.”
As Wilson was sentenced in Perth Sheriff Court, his actions were described as “despicable,” with some of the young victims reported as feeling suicidal. On top of his detention sentence, he will be registered as a sex offender for life.
Additional comments expressed shock at Wilson’s crimes. Defence solicitor George Donelly remarked that “He came from a happy, settled background.”
Wilson had previously been a “straight-A” student with a seemingly bright academic career ahead of him. The presiding Sheriff noted that “It is most regrettable that someone with your potential will now spend a significant amount of time in jail”.
Previously attending the university, Wilson had been staying in Agnes Blackadder Hall. St Andrews has since terminated his studies.