A HYDE man has been jailed for more than eight years for a string of sexual offences against children.
Jeffrey Owens, 44, assaulted and engaged in sexual activity in front of two victims on at least 11 occasions, then threatened them into keeping it a secret.
He also went into great detail in conversations with other internet users about how he had assaulted them a number of times.
Specialist National Crime Agency investigators operating online identified Owens as a user who had been discussing his sexual interest in children on different chat platforms.
He was arrested in May 2020 and officers analysing his phone later recovered several more chat logs where he spoke to various people about abusing children and shared indecent images.
More than 4,000 of children (IIOC) in categories A-C were also recovered, which Owens had stored across several devices, including ones he had taken himself using a hidden camera.
Earlier this year, Owens pleaded guilty to 26 offences, including the sexual assault of a child under 13, seven counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, causing a child to watch a sexual act, three counts of voyeurism, and four counts of indecency with a child.
He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court, with a further four years on licence.
He was also handed an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders register for life.
Mark Barrow from the National Crime Agency said: “Owens is a persistent offender who seemingly sought out as many opportunities as he could to satisfy his sexual interest in children.
“He consistently took advantage of children, sexually assaulting them and forcing them to watch him perform sexual acts on many occasions, then blackmailed them into keeping his horrific actions a secret.
“It’s clear this investigation has placed a dangerous sexual offender behind bars. Identifying such individuals and ensuring they can no longer pose a threat to children is an absolute priority for the NCA.
“We will continue to do all we can to tackle this threat but also hope to see a shift from industry to take responsibility for identifying and preventing sexual abuse happening on their platforms.”