n “extremely manipulative” man who hacked into the Snapchat accounts of more than 500 girls and women across the globe to blackmail them into sending him nudes has been jailed for 11 years.

Akash Sondhi, 27, of Chafford Hundred, Essex, admitted to 65 offences including hacking, blackmail and voyeurism between December 2016 and March 2020.

Sondhi threatened his victims – some as young as 16 – that if they did not send him further images of themselves he would post the existing intimate pictures that he had accessed to their friends and family.

Some of the young women complied with his requests, and in at least six cases he carried out his threats.

He targeted 574 victims from across the globe – including the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Romania and beyond.

One of his victims tried to take her own life, and others have still not been traced.

The offences were committed against victims aged between 16 and 25, with the offending taking place between 2015 and 2020.

Sondhi was sentenced on Tuesday to 11 years in prison, a five year Serious Crime Prevention Order, and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.

Joseph Stickings, of the CPS, said: “Akash Sondhi is an extremely manipulative man who inflicted emotional and psychological damage on young women while also getting gratification from their images and videos.

“Following a diligent and thorough investigation conducted by the Essex Police Cyber Crime Unit the CPS was able to build a comprehensive case of 65 counts reflecting the high level of his offending.

“I would like to thank all of the women who bravely came forward to tell of their traumatic experiences at the hands of Akash Sondhi.

“Their accounts provided strong evidence and the CPS were able to create such a compelling prosecution case that Akash Sondhi pleaded guilty to all counts.”

Detective Sergeant Ian Collins, from the Essex Police Cyber Crime Unit, said: “I urge anyone using social media not to store intimate images of themselves, to secure and protect your data and make sure you don’t become a victim.

“Don’t share passwords even if you think it’s a trusted friend that asks you for them it might not be, its chat in a text.”

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