Teacher Zahid Akram jailed for child photo blackmail

Zahid Akram Zahid Akram threatened to rape two of his victims

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A science teacher who blackmailed girls into sending him sexually explicit photos of themselves has been jailed for six years.

Zahid Akram, 37, from Redditch, targeted his victims - aged between 13 and 18 - after befriending them on the internet, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Akram admitted four counts of blackmail and one of causing or inciting a girl to take part in pornography.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC told Akram his actions had been "vile".

The court heard Akram contacted the girls using fake profiles on social networking sites between September 2011 and November 2012 and persuaded them to pose in their underwear.

He then threatened to expose the images unless they provided pictures that went "certain steps further".

Akram threatened to send the images to his victims' parents and friends if they did not comply.

'Hunted down'

He went on to threaten to rape two of the girls as he demanded more sexualised pictures and money for mobile phone "top-ups".

Devon and Cornwall Police said they recovered catalogues with more than 100 females Akram had been in contact with.

At the time of his arrest in January 2012, he was a science teacher at The Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis, Dorset.

The school was assured by police that none of the offences had any connection with it or the local community.

Prosecutor David Sapiecha said Akram had "hunted down" his victims, adding: "It has had a profound effect on his victims - crying for weeks, the upset, their embarrassment."

Mitigating, Lawrence Wilcox said Akram was a "devoted father" to his children and his behaviour was "entirely out of character".

Passing sentence, Judge Gilbert told Akram that even though he was the father to daughters he targeted schoolgirls, "knowing of their susceptibility and vulnerability".

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