Belfast Telegraph

Jail for 'vile' teacher who blackmailed young girls

By Claire Hayhurst

A science teacher who blackmailed teenage girls in Northern Ireland into sending him sexual images and money has been jailed for six years.

Zahid Akram (37), of Redditch in Worcestershire, trawled the internet looking for victims across the UK, whom he targeted using a series of fake profiles.

Akram promised four girls, aged between 13 and 18, they could "trust" him and persuaded them to send images of themselves in their underwear.

Once Akram had the photographs, he used them to blackmail the girls into sending more explicit images and pay for phone credit for his mobile.

Exeter Crown Court heard the respected teacher threatened to rape the girls and send the pictures to parents, friends and their schools, if they did not comply.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC, the Recorder of Exeter, jailed father-of-two Akram for six years, telling the teacher his actions were "vile".

"You were a school teacher, a married man with your own daughters," the judge said. "You targeted young girls who were still at school, knowing of their susceptibility and vulnerability.

"You treated them in what only can be described as in a vile way, on two occasions threatening them with rape."

The court heard Akram targeted teenagers across the UK, from Northern Ireland to the south of England.

Akram was arrested in January 2012 and later admitted four counts of blackmail and one count of causing or inciting a child to take part in prostitution or pornography.

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