A Victorian man who made up to 70 explicit films of underage girls he lured online tried to blackmail a businessman he wrongly thought was a pedophile.
Shaun Donald Adamson, 33, sent the Melbourne businessman webcam footage of himself apparently performing a sex act in front of a 14-year-old girl, and threatened to out him unless he paid $10,000, the Victorian County Court heard on Monday.
But he targeted the wrong man, presuming he was the person in the film when it was someone else by the same name.
When the businessman reported the threat to police, Adamson was arrested.
Adamson had told the man if he didn’t pay up “we shall burn you to the ground”.
He recruited two young women for blackmail purposes, telling one to string along a pedophile online so they could blackmail him for “serious dollars”.
“I think we could tackle any pedophile. We make a pretty good team,” he told her.
Adamson told police he wanted to use young females to help him blackmail people for money but also that he derived gratification from his behaviour, luring young girls he met in online chat forums to perform sex acts he would film.
Prosecutor Luisa Dipietrantonio said he often pretended to be a teenager, luring his 27 victims, aged between 13 and 16, and making at least 70 movies.
His victims were from Australia and overseas and some were vulnerable, having experienced assault, self-harm or eating disorders.
Adamson typically flattered the girls and even continued to pressure them to take part in sexual acts after they expressed misgivings, including one who had self-harmed.
Adamson’s defence counsel Jane Dixon SC said her client had a gambling problem, an extreme struggle with obesity and suffered depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
His life had been chaotic in the lead-up to his crimes and he began isolating himself in his room, becoming obsessed with online chatting with minors, she said.
Adamson, from the Geelong suburb of St Albans Park, pleaded guilty to 31 charges including using the internet to groom and procure a child under 16 for sexual activity, producing child pornography and blackmail.
The pre-sentence hearing continues Tuesday.