Facebook pervert tricked teenage girls into sending him sordid selfies

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A cyber pervert who set up a fake Facebook profile to entice teenage girls to send him sordid selfies was snared by police after his sick crime was uncovered by his girlfriend.

Michael Finnerty created an online account using the name James Smith to send naked snaps to young girls he befriended on the site – and encourage them to send graphic images in return.

Because people look at these pictures, they become complicit in this abuse.

District Judge Helen Cousins

The 28-year-old’s secret was only brought to light when his partner found his social media alter ego – along with an image of a 14-year-old dressed only in her underwear and requests to other girls to send pictures – while browsing his phone.

She alerted police and Finnerty was arrested on August 17.

He admitted possession of an indecent image of a child at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court – but was spared jail so that he can be given ‘help’ to address his offending.

Finnerty, of Bedford Avenue, South Shields, received a three-year community order and was handed a five-year sexual offences prevention order, which bars him from living with a child aged under 18 unless approval is given by social services.

The order also stops him from having unsupervised contact with any female aged under 18, other than with the consent of a parent or guardian, who must be made aware of his conviction, and subject to the approval of social services.

Ian Haq, defending, said Finnerty had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

District Judge Helen Cousins said; “A 14-year-old girl was abused by the taking of that image in the first place. Because people look at these pictures, they become complicit in this abuse.

“These types of offences are taken so seriously that most cases lead to a custodial sentence. However, I won’t imprison you. The way to deal with you is through the help and assistance of the probation service.”