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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 20:35 GMT
Canada student jailed over porn
Mark Bedford
Mark Bedford was jailed for three years at a court in Canada
A man in Canada who persuaded girls in Kent to strip in front of their webcams has been jailed for three years.

Mark Gary Bedford, 22, a student from Kingston, Ontario, pleaded guilty to pornography charges at the Ontario Court of Justice.

It followed a police inquiry which began in Kent after the computers of 26 girls were hacked into.

Police said Bedford persuaded the girls to undress or expose themselves and he then blackmailed them with the images.

Officers said he used social networking sites to pretend he was a friend they knew.

They believe he harassed hundreds of girls, some as young as nine, after hacking into one girl's email address book.

'Young and impressionable'

Police believe there were more than 40 victims in Kent.

One girl was threatened with death if she did not do what Bedford wanted.

The Kent Police investigation led to an internet provider address in Canada and UK officers worked with the Canadian authorities to arrest the student.

After the sentencing, Det Chief Insp John Clayden, from Kent Police said: "We're talking about young impressionable children.

"He was an adult at the time. It was purely for his own gratification. One can only assume what damage that may have caused to the victims of this man."

Det Insp Scott Naylor, from Ontario Police, said: "The key message I really want to get out is to parents, to pay attention to what's going on, on the internet, with your children.

"There are many people lurking on the internet like Mr Bedford, and they're lying in wait to try and capitalise on naive children and young people."

Bedford admitted 75 counts including mischief to data, extortion, making child pornography, impersonation and criminal harassment.



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