THIS week's Crime Files goes back to 2018, when a predatory paedophile was jailed for four years after he sent sick, manipulative messages to young girls online.

Christopher Sandell, then 22, was described by Judge Jim Tindal as "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" drawing young girls into his "dark world" and "using them for his on pleasure.

Sandell, of Toronto Close, Lower Wick, admitted three counts of inciting a girl aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity, and the mother of one of his victims spoke of her horror in court.

She said: “It came out of the blue. My daughter had never talked about boys or had a boyfriend before.

"The idea that she would go straight to having sex with an adult man she had only met online filled me with horror.”

She told the court that the more she learned of what happened, the more distressed she became, describing her daughter as being on the verge of expulsion from school and telling the judge she would not be able to take all her exams.

Fighting back tears she said: “This is all a consequence of this man grooming her and interfering with her emotional and social development and wellbeing.

“I have had to give up work so that I can support her in her rehabilitation towards normality and to recover from the damage caused to her by this predatory man.”

Sandell's first victim was a vulnerable girl he met online. He then drew her friend into the abuse, persuading them to kiss each other at a sleepover.

At a sleepover in 2015 he encouraged the girl and her friend to kiss over Skype.

When the girls refused he said: “Do this for me and I will leave you alone.”

They did as he asked but the second girl subsequently told the first girl's mother what had happened, who then reported matters to police.

She had also been concerned that her friend planned to meet Sandell and have sex.

Sandell was arrested, giving a ‘no comment’ interview to police.

Despite this, Jason Patel, representing Sandell, said: "It's the biggest regret of his life. He doesn't seek to justify his actions in any way, shape or form."

Judge Jim Tindall said Sandell had exhibited a completely different character online to his real life, his testimonials appearing to show 'a perfectly ordinary young man'.

He said: "In your case it really is more a question of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

"This was not just selfishness. This was using children to satisfy your own needs without giving a moment's thought to the impact upon them.

"What makes matters worse is that you then brought in another innocent, teenage girl. There were two victims and the first feels guilty for bringing her friend into your dark world."

Judge Tindal jailed Sandell for four years - three years for the first complainant and a consecutive year for the second complainant.

A sexual harm prevention order was made for five years to restrict Sandell's contact with children and use of the internet.

He must sign the sex offender register indefinitely.

He said that though Sandell had shown "belated remorse" it had not been there at the time of the offences.

Sandell originally appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court in February 2018, where he pleaded guilty to the charges.

The case was then adjourned so a pre-sentencing report could be prepared.