Paedophile who posed as model scout to blackmail girls into sending abuse images jailed

A south London paedophile who posed as a talent scout to blackmail young girls across the globe into sending abuse images has been jailed for eighteen years.

Ishamel Duncan used Snapchat to coerce children across the UK, US, Canada and Australia into sending explicit photographs of themselves.

He was convicted at Inner London Crown Court of 50 child sex abuse and blackmail offences in relation to 28 female victims and was sentenced on Thursday.

Investigators believe the 24-year-old, formerly of Lambeth’s Walnut Tree Walk, contacted around 10,000 children on Snapchat.

The court heard how the predator approached victims with fake offers to work as models for well-known fashion brands, building up their trust with forged contracts and interviews.

A forged contract used by Ishmael Duncan to build trust with his victims (National Crime Agency)
A forged contract used by Ishmael Duncan to build trust with his victims (National Crime Agency)

He then demanded topless photos on the pretext of assessing victims’ body shapes, telling girls who challenged this that they would be "blacklisted" from the industry if they didn’t comply.

Duncan assigned himself different fake personas and accounts to target the children, including an account belonging to ‘Callum’, who he said was a photographer, and ‘Mark’, who he said was the manager of the “preteen models division”.

He used accounts threatening to “expose” the images on social media unless his demands for more photos were met.

Ishmael Duncan (National Crime Agency)
Ishmael Duncan (National Crime Agency)

Alongside this, he targeted other children by claiming to be a teenage boy, requesting sexual videos. In one case, he blackmailed a 14-year-old girl with learning difficulties, offering her $1,000 (£795) to engage in a sex act with her brother.

Duncan was caught after the family of two sisters he had threatened in the United States reported him to police. Investigators who raided his London home found 19,120 indecent images of children on his devices.

A blackmail message sent by Duncan to his victims (National Crime Agency)
A blackmail message sent by Duncan to his victims (National Crime Agency)

In police interviews, Duncan refused to answer questions about his sick pattern of offending.

In a statement to the court, one of his victims said the abuse, which began when she was just 11, had left her afraid to leave the house.

“Because of what you did to me, I isolated myself from my family and friends for months because I was disgusted with myself,” she said.

“Although I now know deep down that none of this was my fault, I still cannot help blaming myself and feeling some guilt.

“You have made me suffer for four years and I feel that what you did to me will stay with me forever.”

Martin Ludlow, of the National Crime Agency, said the predator’s offending was “systematic, manipulative and heartless".

“He cruelly exploited young girls who had aspirations of becoming models, purely for his own sexual gratification,” he said.

“I would like to commend the bravery of all of these young victims for coming forward to help bring Duncan to justice today.”

Alongside the jail sentence, Duncan was also handed an additional six years on extended licence.