A university student from Gravesend wept in the dock as he was jailed for a string of sex offences today (August 15).

Patrick Chidlow, 18, formerly of Dashwood Road, was sentenced to five years in a young offender institution for a litany of crimes, many of them against children.

The Nottingham University student made his victims' lives miserable by catching them "in a snare and letting them wriggle and writhe" for a year, in some cases.

Chidlow befriended two teenage boys on Facebook, encouraged them to send explicit photos and filmed them on webcam. He then blackmailed them into carrying out sexual acts.

He also incited a teenage girl to engage in sexual activity and distributed images of his victims.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how he said he would share the footage on Facebook if they did not agree to his demands.

He admitted 10 offences of causing a person or child to engage in sexual activity, two of blackmail, three of possessing indecent photographs of a child and one of distributing them.

The offences took place between January 2012 and January last year.

The families of the victims asked their impact statements be read out in court.

One victim, a teenage boy, said: "While this was going on I would lie to my friends and family which I hated.

"I cried while I walked to his house and while I was at home - never in front of anyone, always alone. I would look at my phone when I got a text wishing it was from someone else.

"I lived in fear and hated myself. I even thought of taking my own life."

 The mother of this victim revealed how she was "devastated" when she found out what had happened. She ended up on sleeping tablets, anti-depressants, seeking help from three therapists as she felt she had "failed" her son.

Her emotional statement ended with: "Patrick Chidlow will not break us."

 He was placed on the sex offenders' register for an indefinite time period.

Judge Jeremy Carey told the court during the sentencing: "It is clear to this court you had a modes operandi and this was all pre-meditated.

"You had snared one of these victims and left him to wriggle and writhe in your snare for months on end after messaging him on Facebook."