A woman has been handed an eight year jail sentence after posing as a teenage boy in order to sexually assault girls as young as 13.
Police believe that Gemma Watts, 21, could have assaulted between 20 and 50 girls who thought she was a 16-year-old boy named “Jake Waton”.
Her disguise comprised of hiding her long hair beneath a baseball cap and wearing jogging bottoms and a hoodie.
One of her teenage victims, in an impact statement read to the court, said that her “heart exploded” when police revealed Watts’ true identity to her.
Police said Watts groomed her victims with intimate photographs over WhatsApp and Snapchat before meeting them in person.
Gemma Watts as Jake Waton
Offline her disguise was so convincing that she even spent time as Jake with some of the girls’ parents.
Prosecutor Barnaby Shaw told Winchester Crown Court that the defendant “practised a persistent course of deceit” on four girls and their families.
“These victims were not consenting to sexual activity because they were deceived into thinking that Gemma Watts was a boy,” he added.
Watts, from North London, pleaded guilty at the same court in November to seven sexual assault and grooming charges relating to a 13-year-old, two 14-year-olds and a 16-year-old.
One victim said she had self-harmed and considered suicide since she found out Watts’ true identity, adding: “She is in my head”.
Detective Constable Phillipa Kenwright, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “I think there will be further victims, who were in a relationship with Watts, who will now realise she is a woman. I think there could be 20 to 50.”
Judge Susan Evans QC jailed Watts for eight years.
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