A Limavady man “masqueraded” as a model agency and a photographer to entice teenage girls to pose for naked photos, a court has heard.
Scott Tootill, whose address was given on court papers as c/o Maghaberry, pleaded guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to facilitate child prostitution or pornography.
The charges relate to contact he had with three 15-year-old girls between March 21 and March 25, last year.
Derry Crown Court heard the 23-year-old set up a fake modelling agency on a social networking site and also pretended to be a photographer for the agency.
One of the girls was contacted by the fake modelling agency and also received text messages from the photographer to come to Limavady for photographs to be taken.
Tootill asked the girl if she would be interested in “glamour” modelling shots, which could be of her topless or in her underwear.
However, the court heard this girl never met with the defendant.
The second girl was also contacted by the fake modelling agency and she expressed an interest in modelling. It was made clear to her in subsequent messages that glamour modelling meant naked photos and if this made her uncomfortable, her “head wouldn’t have to be in the photos.”
The third injured party received similar messages from the fake modelling agency and photographer. She was later approached by Tootill who told her he had worked for the modelling agency for three years and if she posed for photos would be paid around £400.
She received further text messages from the modelling agency telling her the photos would be “naked pictures of her doing dirty stuff”.
This girl was invited to Tootill’s home and while there received further sexually explicit messages from the fake agency.
It was revealed to the court the matter was later reported to social services and police, who carried out a search of the 23-year-old’s home and seized computer equipment.
The fake model agency page on the social networking site had up to 100 young girls as friends.
During interview Tootill admitted it was his intention to use his mobile phone to photograph the girls in pornographic shots.
However, it is accepted by the prosecution the defendant did not photograph the teenagers he was in contact with.
Defence QC Billy McCrory said his client lives a “fairly solitary existence” and “seems to have devoted an unhealthy amount of time in cyberspace instead of in the real world”.
He said “serious as these matters are” the offending took place “almost at a distance”, leading to him meeting with just one of them and nothing inappropriate took place”.
Mr McCrory said his client has now learned his lesson.
Judge Piers Grant said it was his opinion Tootill’s actions were “grooming at the higest order”. He added he wished to consider the sentence and remanded Tootill in custody to appear in court again next week.