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Man who posed as model agency scout to blackmail children into sending him indecent images jailed

|News, Sexual offences , International and organised crime

A man who blackmailed children into sending him indecent images of themselves over social media has today been jailed.

Ishmael Lance Duncan, 24, was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment plus a six-year extended licence at Inner London Crown Court on 1 December 2023 after he pleaded guilty to a total of 50 charges relating to child sexual abuse. The charges included blackmail, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, sexual communication with a child and making and possessing indecent images of children (IIOC).

The CPS prosecuted Duncan, of Lambeth, London, following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Between March 2018 and July 2021, the defendant used a number of different accounts, approaches and identities online to target children as young as nine years old and obtain indecent imagery of them.

Duncan used accounts he had created to pose as modelling scouts. He would initiate conversation with a victim asking if they were interested in modelling and then request non-indecent photographs and videos of them.

He would then progress by asking for nude images as part of the false modelling application. When the victim declined to send further indecent imagery or did not want to continue with the ‘modelling application’, there are instances where Duncan would threaten to ‘blacklist’ the victim from modelling and threaten to release the indecent images they had already sent him if they did not send him more.

On other occasions, Duncan would pretend to be a teenage boy, by creating a fake profile and lying about his age. After gaining an individuals trust, he would instigate sexual conversation with the victim before requesting indecent images.

Again, when the victim declined to send him further indecent images, there are instances where Duncan would blackmail them, threatening to spread the images he had received previously from them to their friends or family unless they sent more.

When Duncan was arrested at his home address, devices were seized which provided a wealth of digital evidence linking the defendant to his offences, including incriminating chat logs and thousands of IIOC.

The majority of Duncan’s offending took place on Snapchat, however his offending was also identified on other social media platforms. The investigation found that Duncan had targeted victims in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.

Jeanette Smith, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS, said: “Ishmael Duncan made a number of different accounts with false personas, for the predatory purpose of targeting children online and obtaining sexual images of them for his own gratification.

“Using fake profiles, often posing as a modelling agent or a teenage boy, Duncan was able to manipulate children into sending indecent images of themselves. He would then go on to threaten and blackmail his victims to comply with his sick demands for more explicit material.

“This prosecution sends a clear message that the CPS, working alongside the NCA and international partners, will work to bring justice to those who sexually abuse and exploit children, wherever that abuse takes place.

“The CPS’s Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit was set up last year as a specialist unit dedicated to prosecuting child sexual abuse, in all its forms.”

NCA Operations Manager Martin Ludlow said: “Ishmael Duncan’s offending was systematic, manipulative and heartless.

“He cruelly exploited young girls who had aspirations of becoming models, purely for his own sexual gratification.

“I would like to commend the bravery of all of these young victims for coming forward to help bring Duncan to justice today.

“This case is another example of the NCA working closely with overseas partners to identify and safeguard victims.

“We will continue to operate online and internationally to target those offenders who pose the most serious risk to children.”

Notes to editors

  • Jeanette Smith is a Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS’ Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit which is part of the Serious Economic and Organised Crime International Directorate (SEOCID)
  • Ishmael Lance Duncan [DOB: 25/02/1999] pleaded guilty to 50 counts which included: 
    • Eight counts of blackmail
    • Six counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity
    • Eight counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
    • Nine counts of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity
    • 10 counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity
    • One count of attempting to sexually communicate with a child
    • Six counts of making IIOC
    • One count of possessing prohibited images of children
    • One count of possessing an extreme pornographic image.   
  • He was sentenced at Inner London Crown Court to 18 years imprisonment plus an extended licence of six years on 1 December 2023. He will be subject to notification requirements and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order indefinitely.  

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