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1 September 2017, 14:59
A man, originally from Sherringham in Norfolk, who committed sex offences against young girls he made contact with using fake social media profiles has had his jail sentence more than doubled.
Jason Armstrong, 52, now of Moorends, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, watched proceedings via video link from prison as three Court of Appeal judges in London declared that his original eight-year term was "unduly lenient", and upped it to 16 years and eight months.
The total sentence of eight years, which was imposed at Sheffield Crown Court in June, was increased by Lady Justice Sharp, Mr Justice Holgate and Mr Justice Kerr.
Armstrong, of previous good character, admitted a variety of counts relating to seven "vulnerable" victims - six aged 15 and one 17-year-old - from all over the UK.
The offences, which spanned a two-year period, included sexual activity with a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, distributing images and videos, and making indecent images of children.
Armstrong posed as a young female and a male in his 30s, specifically targeting teenage victims who were going through difficulties in their home lives and encouraging them to confide in him.
Lady Justice Sharp said Armstrong's crimes were "very serious", and the original sentence was "unduly lenient by a considerable margin".
The Court of Appeal's decision came after the "too low" initial term of imprisonment was challenged by Solicitor General Robert Buckland.
He referred the case to the court where it was submitted on his behalf that eight years failed to adequately reflect the gravity of the offences.
Mr Buckland said in a statement after the increase: "Jason Armstrong preyed on multiple young teenagers, taking advantage of their vulnerabilities and exploiting them for his own sexual gain.
"He deliberately lied about his identity and age to gain their trust. It must have been an extremely difficult time for his young victims and I hope this longer prison sentence brings them some comfort.
"Child grooming is a serious crime and those committing it will be punished."