Former Lyme teacher accused of blackmailing girls

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

Ex Woodroffe science master alleged to have blackmailed teenagers into sending him explicit pictures of themselves

A former Lyme Regis schoolteacher has appeared before a Crown Court judge accused of blackmailing girls into sending him explicit pictures of themselves.

Zahid Akram, aged 37, did not enter a plea at a short preliminary hearing at Exeter Crown Court on Friday where Judge Francis Gilbert, QC set a timetable for the exchange of prosecution and defence papers.

Akram, a former science teacher at Woodroffe School, faces five counts of blackmail and other allegations of inciting under age girls to send indecent images over the internet.

He was bailed to his current home address in Redditch, Worcestershire and his case given a preliminary trial date for March next year.

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The blackmail charges allege he told girls aged between 13 and 15 he would post their photographs on the internet unless they complied with his requests.

It is alleged he made unwarranted demands to girls for sexualised images and mobile phone top-ups with menaces.

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He is charged with five counts of blackmail and two counts of inciting a girl to be involved in pornography.

He is also accused of one count of attempting to cause a child, who he did not reasonably believe was aged 16 or over, to look at an image of a person engaging in sexual activity.

Another charge alleges he intentionally caused a child aged 13 to be involved in pornography.

The offences are all alleged to have occurred between 2004 and 2012.

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