A woman has gone to extreme lengths, posing as a teenage boy online so she could groom and sexually assault young girls.
A female sex predator disguised herself as a teenage boy to assault innocent young girls after grooming them on Snapchat and Instagram.
She posed as 16-year-old Jake Waton and continued to commit sexual offences even while under police investigation.
Posing as Jake, with her hair stuffed under a baseball cap, she travelled around the country to meet her victims and sometimes even their parents.
#JAILED | Woman who spun ‘web of lies and deceit’ to groom & sexually assault teenage girls sentenced to 8 years in prison
Gemma Watts, 21, pretended to be 16 year old 'Jake Waton' to entrap her unsuspecting victims on social media sites
Watts – who is unemployed and lived at home with her mum – preyed on victims including a 14-year-old girl in Hampshire, a 15-year-old girl in Surrey, and two 15-year-old girls in the West Midlands.
Winchester Crown Court heard she would pay the girls compliments online and call them ‘babe’ before asking for their mobile phone numbers and messaging them on WhatsApp.
She was only caught when a doctor raised concerns with Hampshire Police that the girl was in a sexual relationship with an older boy.
Many of her victims didn’t realise they’d been duped until they were told by officers.
She continued to prey on young girls and sexually assault them, despite being under police investigation and subject to a sexual risk order where officers would monitor her movements and visit her at her home in Enfield, North London.
Watts was jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to assault by penetration, three counts of sexual assault, and two counts of meeting a child following sexual grooming in incidents involving four separate victims.
But some found her sentence to be too lenient, in comparison to other male paedophiles.
#GemmaWatts should have received a longer sentence. But a paedophile is a paedophile. Female offenders are not worse than men because they can bare children. Lots of comments of “I can’t believe a woman could do this” perpetuates societies acceptance that men are violent. https://twitter.com/tomjennings93/status/1215630608933834753 …
DC Phillipa Kenwright, the Met’s safeguarding lead, said: “If the first known victim had not approached her doctor, Watts might not have been brought to police attention and could have continued offending for a very long time.
“This has had a huge effect on the victims. It has been life changing for all the victims involved.
“They believed they were in a relationship with a young teenage boy. She duped them the whole time. It is baffling.
“These kind of cases are incredibly rare. It does highlight the dangers of social media and how easy it is for perpetrators to set up profiles and approach young people, male or female, and go on to groom them.
“Personally I think there could be between 20 and 50 victims.”