A sick paedophile blackmailed teenage girls from all over the world into performing humiliating sex acts – forcing one to carve his name onto her breast.
Elliot Nicklin, 22, threatened to kill himself if his victims refused, Liverpool Crown Court was told.
Nicklin used a web of online personas to lure his victims into his sadistic world and then abused them online, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Detectives believe he abused more than 70 teenage girls and have traced more than two dozen of them. Many have been left psychologically scarred by Nicklin’s twisted actions and, in some cases, suicidal.
Nicklin appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, where his sentencing hearing was initially delayed after paramedics were called when he suffered a panic attack and complained of chest pains.
He was later ruled fit for the proceedings to continue after being examined at the court complex.
The 22-year-old had admitted 27 offences, including the possession of hundreds of indecent images of children.
Of those, 85 were classed as Category A, the most serious category and one that can include images of child rape.
He also sent eight pictures and videos of his victims to other contacts.
Nicklin pleaded guilty to further counts of inciting child pornography, blackmail, sexual communication with a child and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
The offences took place between 2014 and the day he was arrested – May 21, 2020.
Nicola Daley, prosecuting, said: “The arrest took place due to two referrals that came from the United States of America. After that arrest had taken place the police seized a series of mobile telephones which included three Samsungs and one iPhone, together with a laptop and tablet.
“When those various devices were examined it was established that at least from 2014 onwards the defendant appeared to have been communicating with more than 70 potential victims.”
The devices seized from Nicklin contained more than 1,500 indecent images of children and Ms Daley said it became clear “that a significant number of the videos and images had been sent following threats or coercion”.
She added: “In terms of the scale and nature of the images, they were particularly degrading and humiliating.”
An extensive 12-month Merseyside Police investigation revealed how sinister Nicklin had preyed on vulnerable children, typically befriending them online before encouraging them to perform for him.
In some cases he used multiple fake personas to develop relationships with a victim then told them either himself or one of those other bogus profiles would self harm or commit suicide unless they complied with his demands.
In other cases, once he had received sexual images and videos from a victim he then requested more – telling them the footage he already had would otherwise be sent to their family, friends, school or local police.
Nicklin therefore created a vicious circle for his victims where many felt the only way they could prevent their private images from being released was to cave into his ever-increasingly sadistic requests.
The court heard Nicklin ordered some victims to choke themselves on camera. Other demands included for one girl to hold her head in the water of her toilet bowl, one to strip in her school toilets and another carve his name into her breast.
Terrified, the victims complied.
Ms Daley said one of the images retrieved in Merseyside Police’s Operation Greenband, a year-long investigation that was led by Detective Constable Wayne McGuffie and which established the true extent of Nicklin’s crimes, showed the victim told to carve her breast performing the act while crying into the camera.
Among Nicklin’s various personas was a female character that he pretended to be while he sent images to other people online.
In one case he even sent a photograph of a victim naked from the waist up, though with her breasts covered, to her sister along with the comment: “Go and talk to your sister and see what’s going on.”
Victim personal statements revealed the torment, anguish and lasting consequences of Nicklin’s abuse, which started when he was a youth but continued into adulthood.
In one heartbreaking statement, read to the court on Friday, one of his victims said: “It was six years of hell… you spun a story of abuse and sick threats to kill yourself and release your pictures to my family to gain sympathy. It worked. You had me falling for you.”
In reference to that victim’s comments in his sentencing remarks, Judge David Aubrey, QC, simply told Nicklin: “You broke her.”
John Weate, defending, started his mitigation by stressing that nothing he would say sought to diminish the severity of the impact of Nicklin’s crimes on his victims.
He said his client had no previous convictions, the majority of his offences took place when he was aged between 16 and 20 and that he co-operated with police following his arrest.
Mr Weate said Nicklin, had suffered “extensive bullying”, depression and anxiety and had complied with his bail conditions.
He added: “He was a young man who, with the problems associated with him, lacked the maturity to deal with aspects of his life in a proper way.”
Mr Weate said a lengthy custodial sentence and the following conditions of his release may provide an opportunity for the defendant to “mature”.
Judge Aubrey accepted Nicklin had indicated guilty pleas from an early stage and that some of the offending took place while he was a youth.
But, highlighting the number of victims and offences, persistence of the offending, psychological harm caused and the “sadistic element” to many of the crimes, he concluded Nicklin was so dangerous to the public he should be subject to additional sentencing conditions.
He said Nicklin “left a trail of psychological destruction” upon vulnerable girls, adding: “You were invading your way into the lives, the homes, the phones of teenagers by your charm, guile, skill and, on many occasions, subterfuge.
“In respect of some of the girls you became their knight in shining armour. At least one, if not more, fell in love with you.
“But you would coerce and encourage them into doing sexual acts upon themselves and much more.
“The coercion involved threats by many a means and if they did not comply their whole persona would be posted online, in effect for all to see across the globe.”
He added: “They were unable to stand up to you and chose the humiliation and degradation and performed your demands rather than suffering public humiliation.”
Judge Aubrey jailed Nicklin for 10 years.
That sentence will consist of an initial 12 month sentence for his possession of indecent images that will run consecutive to an additional nine year sentence for his other crimes. That nine year term includes an extended licence period of five years.
This means Nicklin can only be considered for parole after serving two thirds of that sentence.
When he is released he will be under strict conditions for the remainder of that nine year period plus a further five years.
Nicklin was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register.
Concluding, Judge Aubrey said of Nicklin’s crimes: “In my judgement it became an obsession to you but an obsession that had devastating consequences to so many of your victims.”