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Man pleads guilty to blackmailing children into sending him indecent images over social media

|News, Sexual offences , International and organised crime

A man who blackmailed children into sending him indecent images of themselves over social media has been convicted. 

Ishmael Lance Duncan, 24, has pleaded guilty to a total of 50 charges relating to child sexual abuse including blackmail, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, sexual communication with a child, making and possessing indecent image of children (IIOC) and possession of extreme pornographic images. 

The CPS authorised the charges against Duncan, of Lambeth, London, following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Between March 2018 and July 2021, the defendant used a number of different accounts, approaches and identities online to target children as young as nine years old and obtain indecent imagery of them.

Duncan used accounts he had created to pose as modelling scouts. He would initiate conversation with a victim asking if they were interested in modelling and then request non-indecent photographs and videos of them.

He would then progress by asking for nude images as part of the false modelling application. When the victim declined to send further indecent imagery or did not want to continue with the ‘modelling application’, there are instances where Duncan would threaten to ‘blacklist’ the victim from modelling and threaten to release the indecent images they had already sent him if they did not send him more. 

On other occasions, Duncan would pretend to be a teenage boy, by creating a fake profile and lying about his age. After gaining an individuals trust, he would instigate sexual conversation with the victim before requesting indecent images.

Again, when the victim declined to send him further indecent images, there are instances where Duncan would blackmail them, threatening to spread the images he had received previously from them to their friends or family unless they sent more.

When Duncan was arrested at his home address, devices were seized which provided a wealth of digital evidence linking the defendant to his offences, including incriminating chat logs and thousands of IIOC.

The majority of Duncan’s offending took place on Snapchat, however his offending was also identified on other social media platforms. The investigation found that Duncan had targeted victims in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. 

The defendant is to be sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on 1 December 2023. 

Jeanette Smith, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS, said: “Ishmael Duncan made a number of different accounts with false personas, for the predatory purpose of targeting children online and obtaining sexual images of them for his own gratification.

“Using fake profiles, often posing as a modelling agent or a teenage boy, Duncan was able to manipulate children into sending indecent images of themselves. He would then go on to threaten and blackmail his victims to comply with his sick demands for more explicit material.

“This conviction sends a clear message that the CPS, working alongside the NCA and international partners, will work to bring justice to those who sexually abuse and exploit children, wherever that abuse takes place.

“The CPS’s Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit was set up last year as a specialist unit dedicated to prosecuting child sexual abuse, in all its forms.”

Martin Ludlow, NCA Operations Manager, said: “Ishmael Duncan cruelly preyed on young girls, many of whom would have had dreams of becoming a model.

“Behind these accounts lay an individual who wished to exploit them for his own sexual gratification, and was prepared to target thousands of children to do so. The threatening messages he sent were chilling and showed his callous disregard for the victims in this case.  

“The NCA worked closely with overseas partners to identify and safeguard victims, a number of whom provided evidence against Duncan.

“We will continue to work online and internationally to protect children from those offenders who pose the most serious risk to them online.”

Notes to editors

  • Jeanette Smith is a Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS’ Organised Child Abuse Unit which is part of the Serious Economic and Organised Crime International Directorate (SEOCID)
  • Ishmael Lance Duncan (DOB: 25/02/1999) pleaded guilty to 42 charges relating to child sexual abuse at Inner London Crown Court on 21 August 2023. He pleaded guilty to eight more counts of a similar nature on 14 September 2023
  • He is to appear at Inner London Crown Court for sentencing on 1 December 2023

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