The Goodwood Regional Court has sentenced Ashley Perrins, to 25 years of direct imprisonment after he confessed to coercing and later forcing a minor to send him pictures and videos of herself naked. The 38-year-old even sent friend requests to her friends pretending to be her using her picture and later requested them to send him their naked pictures. The court convicted Perrins on 1 208 charges, including a count of sexual grooming a 13-year-old, 290 counts of using a child for or benefitting from child pornography, 290 counts of possession of child pornography in terms of the Films and Publication Act as well as Act 32/2007 – Sexual Offences and Related Matters, 290 counts of the creation of child pornography in terms of the Films and Publication Act as well as Act 32/2007 – Sexual Offences and Related Matters, a count of distribution of child pornography in terms of Act 32/2007 – Sexual Offences and Related Matters, 329 counts of compelled self-sexual assault in terms of Act 32/2007 – Sexual Offences and Related Matters and a count of harmful disclosure of pornography in terms of the Act 32/2007 – Sexual Offences and Related Matters.

The prosecutor, Yolanda Pretoruis, informed the court that the accused requested the 12-year-old girl to be his friend via Facebook. The NPA does not name the victim as she is a minor and to protect her from secondary victimization. She accepted his request, and they started communicating daily on Facebook Messenger. He lied to her pretending to be a 14-years-old and she regarded him as a friend and a potential love interest. At first, he asked her for her picture, and she complied. A few months later he started asking her intimate questions about herself. During 2020, he asked her for her cellular number so that they could communicate via WhatsApp. He then asked her to send him naked pictures of herself and told her what part of her body he wanted to see.

She sent him various pictures of her naked body. This happened several times on different days as he requested it often. The accused then asked the complainant to send him nude videos of herself. He instructed her what to do in the videos. “At first, she refused, and he threatened her, by saying that if she refuses to send the videos, he will expose the naked pictures she sent him on social media for everyone to see. This continued for a while and he got the complainant to send him a total of 121 videos, even though the complainant said she felt uncomfortable making and sending the videos. After communicating for a while, the accused asked the complainant what she would do if she found out that he was 18 years old. She responded that there was nothing she could do. He then informed her that he was 38 years old. This information scared her, and she blocked him on Facebook and WhatsApp.” After being blocked, the accused using a different number demanded to be unblocked and threatened to post her pictures and videos on Facebook. She gave in to his threats and unblocked him. The following year, she discovered that her friends received Facebook requests from her, which she didn’t send.

“She discovered the requests were sent from fake accounts with her profile picture on it. After some of the friends accepted, they were requested to send naked images of themselves. In 2021, the accused demanded to meet her and sent an Uber to fetch them from her home and drop her off at a shopping mall where he was waiting for her. After meeting her, he attempted to kiss her, but she refused. After persuading him that she wanted to go home, he booked her an Uber and gave her R80. At the end of February 2022, the complainant’s father saw one of the videos on Facebook. It was one of the videos she made for the accused. She then told her father what had happened. They told a family friend who traced the accused. The case was reported to the police and the accused was arrested at his place of employment. Police confiscated his cellphone which contained all the images and videos of the complainant,” Pretorius told the court.

After convicting him, the court declared him unfit to possess a firearm, and ordered his details to be entered into the National Sexual Offences Register in terms of Section 50 (2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) 32 of 2007, and declared him unsuitable to work with children that in terms of Section 120(4)(a) of the Children’s Act, Act 38 of 2005,

Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Nicolette Bell, welcomed the sentence but pleaded with young people not to befriend strangers on social media.
“Please use social media very carefully and try and be friends with people you are familiar with. That is your family members and friends you trust. We have had several of these cases and it is always painful to learn that children were taken advantage of by adults who are supposed to protect them”.

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