A TEENAGER tricked into sending indecent pictures of herself by a predatory paedophile tried to kill herself when she discovered the truth, a court heard.
Ben Kesterton pretended to be someone else on Facebook to start a relationship with the girl, who then sent him pictures of herself when she was aged just 15.
And when she discovered the truth about the 34-year-old from Granville Street in Cheltenham, he threatened her, saying he would expose the pictures to others.
On Thursday, Cheltenham Magistrates' Court heard Kesterton had admitted four charges of making indecent photographs of a child and a further three counts of distributing the images.
Nick Cooper, defending, said: "He had pretended to be someone else on Facebook, a female, and persuaded the girl to send the photographs.
"Once the victim realised the defendant was not who he said he was, he sent an email to her and threatened to post the photographs she had sent on Facebook.
"As a result of that, the victim attempted suicide."
Prosecutor Sharon Jomâa said Kesterton had "preyed on the girl" and his actions had a devastating effect on her.
Unemployed Kesterton had been due to be sentenced on Wednesday, but he failed to turn up at the court. As a result, on Thursday he admitted a further offence of failing to surrender to the court.
Mr Cooper explained Kesterton's absence the previous day.
He told the court: "He was highly emotional and had not been entirely truthful with his family and felt he needed to come clean. There were thoughts in his mind about harming himself, but he realised that was ridiculous."
Kesterton was arrested by police near Westal Green in Cheltenham on Wednesday night on his way to tell his mum about the offences.
Magistrate Tom Fitzgibbon ordered Kesterton, who has no previous convictions, be sent to Gloucester Crown Court for sentencing on September 12.
Kesterton must report to Cheltenham Police Station once a week in the meantime and make no contact with the teenage girl. He was given a £30 fine and £15 victim surcharge by magistrates for failing to appear at court.