Internet troll jailed after threat to publish photos of boy, 14

Farnan threatened to publish explicit photos of the boy on Facebook. Picture: Getty
Farnan threatened to publish explicit photos of the boy on Facebook. Picture: Getty
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A CALLOUS internet troll who pushed a schoolboy to the brink of suicide after threatening to publish explicit pictures of him on Facebook is facing jail.

Dylan Farnan, 19, forced his young victim to send intimate photos after saying he would upload more than a dozen other pictures to the internet if he didn’t.

Farnan, of Motherwell, Lanarkshire, used a fake Facebook profile to begin chatting to the boy - who was just 14 at the time - and the unsuspecting youngster was taken in.

After willingly swapping photos, the schoolboy - who cannot be named for legal reasons - told Farnan he wasn’t sending more images and would go to the police if he wasn’t left alone.

But Farnan said he had already committed a crime but promised to leave him alone if he agreed to send more.

The twisted web designer ignored the boy telling him he was considering ending his own life and even taunted him about secretly enjoying his torment.

The ordeal lasted from October 2012 until the following August and only ended when the boy confided in family and Farnan was arrested following a probe by cybercrime police.

He has now appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court where he admitted causing his victim to participate in sexual activity, sending him sexual messages and taking indecent pictures of children.

Depute fiscal Callum Forsyth said Farnan had used a fake profile to trap his victim before turning on him in December 2012.

He said: “At this time he began to threaten him that if he did not send more images that he would post all the original images on the main wall of Facebook where they would be made available for public viewing.

“The complainer complied with the demands as he feared friends and family would find out he had taken and sent images of himself in sexual poses.”

He added: “During other communications, he explains to the accused he is making his life unbearable but this did not deter the accused who demands another picture.

“The complainer goes onto explain that what he is doing to him could lead to suicide, however he only appears concerned about receiving more pictures.”

The court heard a police probe discovered a hidden email address linked to a web design company set up by Farnan and his home in Motherwell was raided.

A laptop holding images of his victim was then confiscated.

A victim impact statement said the incident had a ‘traumatic effect’ on the boy who was also left ‘extremely embarrassed’ and ‘upset’.

Sheriff Thomas Millar put Farnan on the sex offenders’ register and deferred sentence until next month.

Farnan was given bail to an address in Wembley, London, but refused to comment.

Last year Police Scotland issued advice to help children stay safe online.

Chief Inspector Willie Cravens said: “All children and young people need to understand they should only share pictures online that they are happy with friends, family and others seeing.

“They also need to know how to keep their personal information private and to contact an adult if they feel threatened.”

Any child who feels risk or is worried should speak to a parent, guardian or teacher or can phone Police Scotland on 101 or Childline on 0800 1111.