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A pervert who used computer malware to prey upon young girls has been jailed for ten years.

Adrian Ringland, 36, from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, admitted blackmailing teenage girls into sending him increasingly exploit pictures after infecting their PCs with Trojan horse malware. The unemployed father of two tricked youngsters into downloading malware after striking up an “online friendship” with them in chat rooms whilst posing as a teenage boy.

Supposed pictures he sent them actually contained Trojan code, which surrendered their PCs to his control. He subsequently swiped personal information from compromised PCs. Ringland then attempted to intimidate the youngsters into sending revealing pictures by exercising his control over their PCs to perform functions such as opening and closing disc drive. Using threats that he'd send this embarrassing material to girls' parents or friends, Ringland blackmailed his victims into sending more and more explicit pictures of themselves.

Faced with a huge body of evidence against him, Ringland pleaded guilty to a string of child abuse-related charges. One of these charges involved indecency with a child, three blackmail and six offences of making indecent photographs of children. He also pleaded guilty to one offence of grooming and six offences of sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 and 15. Ringland's victims included a 14-year-old schoolgirl from Manitoba, Canada and three British girls, aged between 13 and 14 years old.

In sentencing him at Inner London crown court, Judge Nicholas Philpot sharply criticised Ringland's "disgusting and abusive treatment of adolescent girls", The Telegraph reports.

Ringland's activities came to the attention of the police after his 14 year-old Canadian victim reported his abusive behaviour. "Even after he had been arrested and placed on bail for his initial internet offences he continued to groom a 13-year-old girl and then formed a sexual relationship with her," Jenny Hopkins of the Crown Prosecution Service told BBC Television, Reuters reports. ®

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