A schoolteacher who blackmailed terrified teenage girls into sending him explicit pictures of themselves was jailed for six years today.
Zahid Akram, a married father of two young daughters, targeted the victims aged between 13 and 18 after befriending them on social networking sites.
He pretended to be a young man and persuaded them to send him photos of themselves in their underwear - but then said he knew who their parents were and were they lived and threatened to rape two of them as he demanded more sexualised pictures of themselves.
At Exeter Crown Court, Judge Francis Gilbert QC said as he sentenced the 37-year-old physics teacher that blackmail was 'an evil crime, one of the ugliest on the criminal calendar'.
Science teacher Zahid Akram, 37, of Redditch, in Worcestershire, trawled the internet looking for victims across the UK before he blackmailed them into sending him explicit pictures of themselves
The judge said his first victim was a 16-year-old schoolgirl who passed on her e-mail and phone details to Akram who posed as a younger man.
He then sexualised the conversation and persuaded her to send him some pictures of her in bra and knickers.
But within three days Akram, from Redditch, Worcestershire, but then living in Exeter, Devon, texted her saying he wanted 'kinky stuff on a webcam' or he would send the earlier pictures to her parents whose full names he knew after researching the details on Facebook and the internet.
He also threatened to put the pictures on a pornographic site and also send them to her school - even though she had not given him any of those details.
Akram called himself Beelzebub, The Devil, and used another false name and threatened to send her parents and school a profile he would put on a porn site.
The girl was 'extremely worried' and he taunted her for three months.
The second victim was just 13 at the time and lives in Northern Ireland.
He did the same thing to her and threatened to show her pictures of her in her underwear to people in her town.
Exeter Crown Court heard Akram promised four girls, aged between 13 and 18, they could 'trust' him and persuaded them to send images of themselves in their underwear
He then forced her to take pornographic pictures of herself sitting naked with her legs apart and saying he would meet her. He also demanded a £40 top up for his phone.
The third victim was 18 and from the south of England and called himself Jason. He also blackmailed her to send more explicit photos of herself or he would come to a hotel near her home and rape her and she believed his threat to be real.
The fourth victim was a 17-year-old from the North of England and he called himself Rick and blackmailed her to send sexualised pictures of herself.
The judge said Akram 'targeted young girls' who were susceptible and vulnerable and 'threatened them in a truly vile way'. Two girls were left fearing they would be raped and were 'absolutely terrified'.
Prosecutor David Sapiecha told the court: 'There were multiple victims in the UK. It had a profound effect on them. They were left crying, feeling sick, and upset what had gone on and embarrassed.
Judge Gilbert at Exeter Crown Court (pictured) ordered Akram to sign to the Sex Offenders¿ Register and imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for at least 10 years
'There were four victims and he had a particularly callous attitude to them to feed his sexual desires and to gain a small amount of money.
'The underlying motive is sexual. He hunted them down.'
Mr Sapiecha said the victims did not know each other and lived around the UK and he said Akram 'trawled the internet and sought them out' using social networking sites including Badoo.com.
He said the first victim thought she was in contact with a young man called Kurt Renshaw and they shared ordinary pictures - including one of a young man who clearly wasn't Akram.
He then went on to ask for pictures of her in her bra and knickers and shared them with him on a private noticeboard on the over 18 site which is used by children.
Mr Sapiecha said Akram then aggressively blackmailed her in a 'chilling way' and threatened to post her underwear pictures on a porn site if she did do what he said and demanded 'kinky stuff'.
He also demanded she laid out her underwear on her bed so he could choose what she wore and only gave her minutes to agree to it or 'things will get really nasty'.
Akram said if she didn't then he would post her profile on a porn website 'asking for men to come and rape her'.
He also demanded a £10 phone top up from her and she was left frightened, embarrassed and worried, said the Crown, who said there were 184 calls between them in three or four days in 2011.
'She felt sick because he knew what she looked like,' said Mr Sapiecha who said Akram had researched her on Facebook and found out her parents' full names and 'used that as a lever'.
He said Akram was 'callous and scaring them into what he wanted' and then moved on to pester the 13-year-old girl who sent him 20 photos of herself.
Akram, who taught physics at a Dorset school but did not target any girls from his own school, also forced the youngest victim to send him photos of her topless and bottomless and isolated her from her friends and from going out.
He called her names and left her short of money to buy her own mother a Christmas gift after giving him £40 for a phone top-up.
He told her about another girl who did not do what she told and when the 13-year-old asked if she was okay and still alive, Akram said she was 'in a lot of pain'. She then posed completely naked.
When he was arrested, Akram told police he used false names because he did not want his wife to know that he was 'flirting with people'. He gave an innocent explanation at first and then said nothing to police.
Defence barrister Lawrence Wilcox said Akram was a 'highly strung, intense' man who was passive but became attracted by the prospect of 'control and escapism'.
He said his marriage was in trouble and he had long standing debts of £40,000 and had been a teacher at a school for ten years where there had been no suggestion of impropriety.
Akram admitted four charges of blackmail and one of causing or inciting a child to prostitution or pornography.
Dr Richard Steward, head teacher of Akram's former Woodroffe school in Lyme Regis, Dorset, said he was immediately suspended when the police probe began. He later quit.
He said 'none of the offences have any connection with the school or local community'.
Police investigator Det Con Steve Harris said: 'I think there are hundreds of victims he has contacted. They are aged between 13 and 30 and they live all other the UK.
He had at least 12 profiles, mostly young males but one was as a woman.'
He said he got them to take pictures of themselves and increased the level of sexualisation.
His demands were about empowerment rather than sexual gratification.
He had very little control over his life at work or at home. He needed some way of taking control and this is what he ended up doing.'
Akram, who had no previous convictions, was traced and his computer seized after one of his victims bravely contacted police and his degraded secret life which went on from October 2009 until 2012 was exposed.
He was placed on the Sex Offenders' register and given ban from working with children. He will be released after serving half the six year term.