British woman, posing as boy luring girls into sex, jailed
WINCHESTER, England – On Friday, a young British woman who often posed as a teenage boy to lure dozens of girls into sex with her was jailed for a period of eight years.
21-year-old Gemma Watts created an online persona of a 16-year-old Jake Waton on her social media to strike relationships with young girls, as young as 14. The male alter ego that Watts created was described by police as being very believable.
In November, Watts pleaded guilty to seven charges which were related to four of her victims aged 14 and 15. Police, however, believe that Watts was a prolific predator and perhaps there were many other unidentified victims.
Assault, sexual assault and meeting a child following sexual grooming were the charges included. Watts was sentenced at the Winchester Crown Court in southern England to eight years in prison.
Watt’s grooming began by liking girls’ profiles on Instagram and Snapchat followed by sending them compliments and then called them pet names like “Babe”.
Her Jake Waton profile featured photographs of herself in baggy sportswear with her hair tied up hidden under a hood or a cap and featured several posts on skateboarding.
After persuading her victims to meet, Watts travelled to their homes by train; most often the girls genuinely believed that they were in genuine relationships. In some instances, the encounters happened several times over a period of months.
Watts also met and had conversations with some of her victims’ parents, who were taken in too.
Phillipa Kenwright, a detective on this case, said that the unaware victims were deceived until the police contacted them and were devastated by the truth.
Kenwright said that it was life-changing for the involved victims, especially for the girls for whom this was the first relationship.
The case previously had not been made public. Kenwright said that once details of the case came out in the media, a few more victims may come forward.
Kenwright estimates that there could potentially be 20 to 50 unidentified victims.
Watts left school at age 16 and lives in North London with her mother. The case got police attention in April 2018 and in spite of knowing that she was under investigation, Watts continued to pursue more victims with her online persona Jake.
Kenwright said that no remorse had been expressed by Watts and she did not offer any explanation for her actions.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.