A man who posed as a model scout to manipulate girls as young as nine into sending indecent photos and videos has pleaded guilty to 50 offences.
Ishmael Duncan, 24, from London used several Snapchat accounts to coerce and threaten 28 children from the UK, US, Canada and Australia into sending explicit images of themselves.
In total, officers recovered 19,120 indecent images of children in categories A-C (A being the most severe) from his devices and cloud storage. Investigators believe he contacted nearly 10,000 children from these accounts.
Duncan was arrested in July 2021 at his home in Lambeth, and a number of devices were seized. Material recovered from these and cloud storage included chat logs from the various Snapchat accounts Duncan used and indecent images he had extorted from children.
The 24-year-old approached his victims by asking if they wanted to model for well-known fashion brands, he would then ask for their age and personal details, before asking for clothed images or videos.
He then took the girls through a lengthy interview process to build their trust and sent them legitimate looking contracts featuring brand logos.
After the interview process, Duncan would request topless pictures to ‘assess the victims’ body shape’ and as a ‘base’ for adding potential clothes to be modelled.
Martin Ludlow from the National Crime Agency said: “Ishmael Duncan cruelly preyed on young girls who had dreams of becoming models.
“The threatening messages he sent were chilling and showed his callous disregard for the victims he exploited for his own sexual gratification in this case.”
The girls who challenged the photo request were told the- original photo would be deleted after editing but some were threatened with being ‘blacklisted’ if they didn’t comply. He used multiple accounts and even created false personas to make his plot more believable, including Callum, the photographer, and Mark, a general manager.
Duncan then created another account to contact the same victims, sometimes many months later, threatening to expose and share their photos unless they sent him more images.
He sent the following message: “This is an automated message. We have your nudes, and unless you reply to this message saying “I understand", they will be sent out to expose accounts on Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. If you reply with anything else other than “I understand”, or if you block or unfriend this account, your nudes will be sent out. This is your first and only warning.”
He targeted other potential victims claiming to be a child of a similar age, requesting sexual images and videos. He blackmailed a 14-year-old girl with learning difficulties who sent him images, and also offered her $1,000 to engage in a sexual act with her brother.
Duncan was charged with 53 counts including causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity (penetrative and non-penetrative), blackmail, sexual communication with a child, indecent and prohibited images of children (making and possession) and possession of extreme pornographic images.
He appeared at Inner London Crown Court on 21 August this year, where he admitted to 42 of the counts. Yesterday (14 September) he admitted to a further eight counts. Two counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of blackmail will lie on file.
Duncan is due to be sentenced at the same court on 1 December.