Woman, 21, who posed as teenage boy to ‘sexually assault up to 50 girls’ after grooming them is jailed

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Gemma Watts, 21, was found guilty of seven counts of sexual assault in November after passing herself as a 16-year-old teenage boy called Jake (PA)

A “predatory” woman who posed as a teenage boy to groom and sexually assault up to 50 underage girls was jailed today.

Gemma Watts, 21, travelled across the UK to meet with youngsters, who were duped into believing they were in a relationship with a boy close to their own age.

Watts - who would disguise herself in a baseball cap, baggy trousers and a hoody - convinced her victims that she was 16-year-old Jake Waton.

Watts arrives at Winchester Crown Court, Hampshire on Friday. (PA)

On Friday, she was sentenced to eight years at Winchester Crown Court for sexually assaulting girls as young as 13.

Watts previously pleaded guilty to seven offences in November against four girls.

The offences include assault by penetration, sexual assault and grooming against 14-year-old girl from Hampshire; sexual assault and grooming against a 15-year-old girl from Surrey; grooming a 15-year-old girl from Plymouth and sexual assault against a 15-year-old girl from the West Midlands.

A judge told Gemma Watts she showed 'planning and predatory behaviour' (PA)

During sentencing, Judge Susan Evans QC said: “There was, it seems to me, planning and in some way predatory behaviour.

“Their age, as you plainly knew, made it more likely that they would be sexually naive, enabling you to get away with your deception.

“None of them would have consented to sexual activity with you. You groomed each of them with telephone and internet contact to deceive each of them as to your identity.”

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Judge Evans said Watts’ actions caused “severe psychological harm” - but said her low IQ, guilty plea, lack of previous convictions and age when offences were committed all served as mitigation.

Watts, of Enfield, north London, shared skateboarding videos and used teenage slang to entice her victims.

She flattered her targets - aged between 14 and 16 - with complimentary messages, calling them “babe” or other pet names.

Watts disguised herself as 16-year-old Jake Waton and groomed her victims online (PA/MET POLICE)
Watts was sentenced to eight years in prison at Winchester Crown Court on Friday (PA)

She would then swap messages with victims, including intimate photographs, using WhatsApp, Snapchat, or text, and speak over the phone before meeting them in person.

The court heard how, in one instance, Watts sexually assaulted a girl in her mother’s bedroom.

Detective Constable Phillipa Kenwright, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “It’s been life-changing for all of the victims involved. They believed they were in a relationship with a young teenage boy, to then find out this was actually a female.

“For some of these girls it was their first relationship… She’s duped them the whole time,” she continued.

“A lot of these victims are young, quite innocent. They have been completely taken in by Gemma Watts. They all believed they were in a relationship with a male.”