A youth posed online as a young schoolgirl to request intimate snaps and videos from a boy of eleven and then blackmailed him for more, a court heard.

Corey Hycz, now 21, of Min yr Afon, Ruthin, was jailed for 27 months at Mold crown court. He admitted inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, blackmail and child porn charges.

Prosecutor Ffion Tomos, outlining the case on a Skype video link because of the Covid outbreak, said the victim had received an Instagram message from Hycz – pretending to be “Molly” - who told him he was attractive.

The defendant asked for 20 intimate snaps and three videos and then demanded more. “He was told if he didn’t send further photographs ‘Molly’ would show all his friends the images already sent across,” Miss Tomos said. The blackmail went on for some time.

The boy had occasionally tried to block online contact but Hycz created another fake profile to message him. The frightened youngster, who’d been crying at home on his own, eventually confided in a friend.

“I could never have imagined someone would do this to me,” he’d said in an impact statement. The prosecutor said police had seized an iPhone and laptop at Hycz’s home and found dozens of indecent images.

Simon Killeen, defending, said Hycz was socially isolated and had difficulties. He had no previous convictions and showed remorse.

Hycz must register as a sex offender and a sexual harm prevention order was made.

Judge Niclas Parry told him :”Over a period of some 18 months, you a young man aged between 17 and 19, posed as a young female to engage sexually with a victim aged only eleven years.” The judge said the defendant accepted being sexually attracted to children.

“Your age at the time, coupled with your moderate learning difficulties, would have affected your maturity,” Judge Parry remarked.

DC Natalie Horgan-Jones of North Wales police said: “The defendant was well known in the community for his involvement with various groups. This sentence reflects the serious nature of his offending and hopefully it will provide reassurance to both the victim and community of how the criminal justice system will deal with this type of offender.

“This investigation was only possible with the courage and resolve of the victim in reporting these crimes. Hopefully it will bring closure to a prolonged period of stress and anxiety the victim has suffered at the hands of the defendant. I hope it provides some level of comfort to the whole family.

“I would like to take the opportunity to emphasise that often offenders use threats and fear to prevent people reporting their activity online, making them worry they too may be in trouble if they were to tell someone what has happened.

“Offenders need to know that the internet is not a safe anonymous space for accessing and distributing indecent images. They leave a digital footprint and we will find it.”