Rapist who targeted girls online is jailed
A RAPIST who targeted teenage girls and women online has been jailed for 15 years.
Joseph Cook used fake social media and dating website profiles to make contact with his victims and trick them into sending them nude images by pretending he wanted to be their boyfriend.
He then threatened to share the pictures unless they sent him more images and videos of themselves carrying out sexual acts. He also blackmailed a woman into having sex with him.
The 28-year-old, of Fishponds, denied charges of rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity but was convicted by a jury after a trial at Bristol Crown Court. As well as his jail sentence he was given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order to protect the public after his release.
Avon and Somerset police said their investigation began in 2016 when a 17-year-old girl called them to report that a man had threatened to share images she had sent when she was aged 13 unless she sent him more indecent pictures.
Cook was traced and his mobile phones were seized. Officers discovered he had created social media accounts using false names so he could contact girls and young women to obtain nude images of them by pretending to be interested in them romantically.
In April 2018, while already under investigation, Cook made contact with a woman he already knew using a dating website profile in the name of Jack Barry. He made threats to share indecent images of her with her friends and family if she did not carry out sexual acts with him. She did what he demanded, fearing that he would carry out his threats.
DCs Nina Wilson and Lucy Staniland, who were the officers in charge of each of the investigations, said: “Cook has shown himself to be a dangerous individual who offends against children and adults and seeks not only to control and exploit his victims but also threatens and frightens them into engaging in sexual activity.
“There is no doubt that if he was not brought to justice on this occasion he would continue to offend and anyone who believes they have been a victim to any similar offence is urged to contact police.”