Man who groomed teenage girls online is jailed after pleading guilty
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A man from Cheltenham has been sentenced to 7 years and four months in prison after he pleaded guilty to grooming and manipulating teenage girls online.
Philip Mustoe, aged 25 and of Priors Road in Cheltenham appeared at Gloucester Crown Court via video link yesterday (Wednesday 8 April) where he was jailed after previously pleading guilty to 14 offences relating to child sexual exploitation.
As well as the prison sentence Mustoe has been placed on the sex offenders register for life and is the subject of a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order, this comes after he was deemed as dangerous by the judge.
Between 2015 and 2018, Mustoe groomed teenage girls online whilst running an Instagram account which had nearly 7,000 followers.
The account was used as a place where teenagers could submit photographs before they would be posted online to see who could get the most likes.
Mustoe then went on to message the girls before threatening them into sending indecent images which were later shared on the account and with other people.
Police became aware of Mustoe's offending when a teenage girl who had formed an online relationship with him alerted a relative about how she had been forced to share indecent images that had ended up online. The relative of this girl confronted Mustoe online which then led to him threatening her for indecent images.
Mustoe was arrested for these offences in September 2017 before being released under investigation whilst further enquiries were carried out, a second report was received from another teenage girl and Mustoe was rearrested in October 2018.
He was later charged with numerous offences after officers found two category B videos, 299 category C photographs and over 6,000 indicative/borderline photographs on a number of devices that he owned.
The offences were; three counts of causing a child under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity, two counts of causing a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, one count of inciting child sexual exploitation, three counts of distributing indecent photographs of a child, three counts of possessing indecent photographs of a child for show and two counts of causing child prostitution or pornography.
Detective Constable Charlene Sallis from the Child Sexual Exploitation team said: "Mustoe's offending centred on deceit and the manipulation of three teenage girls who were threatened and demanded to send indecent images after forging an online relationship with him.
"Mustoe had a massive impact on the three girls and I would like to highlight how this can happen to anyone as you never truly know who your children are speaking to online.
"The number of indecent images and videos found on Mustoe's devices show the level of his offending and I am glad that we were able to bring him to justice and get some closure for his victims.
"I would like to praise the three victims in this case for the bravery and courage that they displayed by coming forward and asking for help.
"CSE can happen to anyone and I would urge anyone who has gone through this or something similar to talk to someone they trust so that support can be offered."
When speaking about Mustoe's offending HHJ Cullum added: "This wasn't love or affection from you, it was pure paedophilic lust and you were utterly remorseless.
"You [Mustoe] are dangerous and every parent's nightmare."
Gloucestershire Constabulary is taking part in awareness raising around online safety, Thinkuknow is an educational programme which protects children both online and offline.
Advice for parents and carers on keeping children safe online can be found here: www.thinkuknow.co.uk