X Factor's Danny Tetley jailed for child abuse images

image copyrightGetty/Mike Lewis Photography
image captionHe was jailed for nine years and will spend the following eight on licence

A former X Factor contestant who paid teenage boys to send him indecent images has been jailed by a judge who called him a "despicable creature".

Danny Tetley, 39, a semi-finalist on the show in 2018, admitted seven charges of causing sexual exploitation of boys aged between 14 and 16.

His offences came to light when one of the boys' parents checked their son's phone and saw the graphic content.

Tetley, of St Enoch's Road, Bradford, was jailed for nine years.

He will be monitored on licence for a further eight years after his release.

At Bradford Crown Court, Judge Durham Hall told him: "Those in the public eye have a deep responsibility which many you see exercise magnificently, with additional work for society.

"Many will see you, I'm afraid, for what you are, to some extent: a despicable creature with very few redeeming features."

The court heard Tetley "spent likely many thousands of pounds" on convincing seven teenagers to send him pictures, telling one of them: "Trust me, money ain't a prob as long as they are good."

He messaged them on WhatsApp over "a period of months" until he was arrested in May 2019.

image copyrightWest Yorkshire Police
image captionDanny Tetley messaged seven boys on WhatsApp over a period of months, the court heard

One of the boys later said "we let him get away with it" because of the amount of money they were offered.

The singer admitted seven charges of causing sexual exploitation of boys and two counts relating to the distribution of indecent images.

The judge described the offending as "blatant and disgusting", saying: "The level to which you sank, Mr Tetley, was unbelievable."

Michael Smith, prosecuting, said Tetley was "relatively high profile" and a regular on national television, including on the programmes Benidorm and Pop Idol.

"His fame and notoriety, we submit, was part of the grooming process," he added.

Mr Smith said Tetley told officers the offending was "all due to X Factor and the fame that he could not cope with".

The court heard how one of the boys was an X Factor fan, and sent Tetley indecent images while he was appearing on the show.

As part of the grooming process, Tetley would send him videos of members of the programme's cast.

'A very public world'

He told another boy he often forgot he was 14, adding: "It's because you're so sound and you are one of the lads. You've got a friend for life in me, mate, I will always help you out."

Two of the boys performed sexual acts on camera with one another in exchange for more money.

Andrew Dallas, mitigating, told the court: "[Tetley] was effectively alone in a very public world, emotionally vulnerable and been given money for his singing, all of which is gone.

"By the time he was locked up, he was penniless. It was easy come, easy go, as the saying goes."

Det Insp Ian Cottrell, from West Yorkshire Police, thanked those who reported Tetley's crimes.

"Tetley claimed he had been set up and that people were out to get him because he was famous, but our investigation was able to prove that he was actively grooming children through social media.

"We hope this result will encourage other victims to come forward."

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