Cape Town - A Cape Town man has been sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment after he admitted to coercing a minor to send him pictures by pretending to be a child himself.
The court heard that Ashley Perrins, 38, had even sent friend requests to the child’s friends by using her photograph and pretending to be her.
He did so with the intention of later asking these friends for naked photographs of themselves.
Perrins was sentenced at the Goodwood Regional Court this week.
He was convicted on 1 208 charges, including a count of sexual grooming, 290 counts of using a child for or benefiting from child pornography, and 290 counts of possession of child pornography in terms of the Films and Publication Act– Sexual Offences and Related Matters.
State prosecutor Yolanda Pretorius informed the court that Perrins requested the girl to be his friend via Facebook.
The NPA said the child had accepted his request, and they started communicating daily on Facebook Messenger. He began asking her intimate information and to show him parts of her body.
“He lied to her pretending to be a 14-years-old and she regarded him as a friend and a potential love interest. At first he asked her for her picture, and she complied.
“A few months later he started asking her intimate questions about herself.
“During 2020, he asked her for her cellular number so they could communicate via WhatsApp.
“He then asked her to send him naked pictures of herself and told her what part of her body he wanted to see.”
Pretorius said the victim sent him various pictures of her naked body and that this happened several times on different days as he requested them often.
“The accused then asked the complainant to send him nude videos of herself,” said Pretorius. “He instructed her what to do in the videos.
“At first, she refused, and he threatened her, by saying that if she refused to send the videos, he would expose the naked pictures she sent him on social media for everyone to see.
“This continued for a while and he got the complainant to send him a total of 121 videos, even though the complainant said she felt uncomfortable making and sending the videos.”
After communicating for a while, the accused asked the complainant what she would do if she found out that he was 18 years old.”
Pretorius added that she responded that there was nothing she could do.
Perrins then informed her that he was 38 years old.
“This information scared her, and she blocked him on Facebook and WhatsApp,” she said.
“ After being blocked, the accused, using a different number, demanded to be unblocked and threatened to post her pictures and videos on Facebook.
“She gave in to his threats and unblocked him.
“The following year, she discovered that her friends received Facebook requests from her, which she didn’t send.”
Pretorius added she discovered the requests were sent from fake accounts with the girl’s profile picture on them. After some of the friends accepted, they were requested to send naked images of themselves,” Pretorius said.
The NPA said that in 2021 Perrins demanded to meet her and sent an Uber to fetch them from her home and drop her off at a shopping mall, where he was waiting for her.
After meeting her, he attempted to kiss her, but she refused.
“After persuading him that she wanted to go home, he booked her an Uber and gave her R80,” she said.
Pretorius said the alarm was raised when the child’s father saw one of the videos on Facebook and that was when she opened up about what had happened.
Police later arrested Perrins after a case was opened and his cellphone had been confiscated where photographs and videos were found.
He has been declared unfit to possess a firearm and his details will to be added into the National Sexual Offences Register.
Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Nicolette Bell, welcomed the sentence but pleaded with young people not to befriend strangers on social media.
“Please use social media very carefully and try to be friends with people you are familiar with,” she said.