A man has been jailed for 10 years after tricking hundreds of young boys to send explicit photos of themselves by posing as a teenage girl online.
James Utting, 36, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court after it was discovered that images of 401 victims, aged between eight and 15, were found on his computer between 2014 and 2018.
The court also heard that Utting - from Aldershot, Hampshire - sent the images to some of the victim's friends and family.
36-year-old James Utting (pictured) has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after he convinced 401 young boys to send photographs of themselves whilst posing as a 15-year-old girl on social media.
The Aldershot resident pleaded guilty to 43 offences of possessing and distributing indecent images of children and engaging children in sexual activity relating to 11 victims.
Utting also asked for a further 116 offences against 54 other victims to be taken into consideration.
The victims were from all over the country, including Southampton, Humberside, Sussex, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Barnsley, Grimsby and Sheffield.
The 36-year-old posed as a 15-year-old girl on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, to convince the boys to send the photos.
The court also heard that Utting would then threaten to share the images to some of the boys' friends and families if they did not send more pornographic images.
Utting was convicted at Winchester Crown Court (pictured) after pleading guilty to 43 offences of possessing and distributing indecent images of children and engaging children in sexual activity relating to 11 victims, but the defendant asked for a further 116 offences against 54 other victims to be taken into consideration
The defendant went through with the threat on some occasions, as Utting sent the images to schoolfriends and relatives of 19 of his victims.
Judge Jane Miller QC said Utting was a danger to children and gave him a ten-year custodial sentence with an extended licence period of five years.
She said: 'It was both devastating and highly distressing for the boys, it will affect all of their lives.
'I hope they will be able to pick themselves up after your sentence and move forward, I hope they understand it wasn't their fault.'
Prosecutor Matthew Lawson said that some of the boys could be seen crying in the images, pleading with Utting to stop the blackmail threats.
As one victim, aged 14, said he felt 'low to the point where there was no meaning to life, I felt there was no tomorrow' after Utting shared the images of him to his school friends.
While speaking of her son's struggles, his mother told the court: 'To watch him experience shame, hurt, paranoia, anxiety and depression was so hard.
'As a mother this has broken my heart and changed my view of the world forever.'
Richard Martin, defending, said that the 36-year-old defendant had experienced a 'troubled life' and had been diagnosed as autistic.