X-factor semi finalist who 'exploited' his fame to groom and abuse young boys is jailed

Telegraph Reporters
X-factor semi finalist 'exploited' his fame to groom and abuse young boys, judge says as he is jailed - REX

An X-factor semi finalist 'exploited' his fame to groom and abuse young boys, a judge has said as he is jailed. 

Danny Tetley, 39, used his status on the popular ITV show to satisfy his "perverted sexual needs" by getting young teenage boys to send him indecent images for money.

The sordid singer spent "many thousands" of pounds to glean explicit images of youngsters and videos of them performing sex acts.

He even sent photographs of fellow X-Factor contestants to groom "highly impressionable" youngsters, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Tetley, who shot to fame when he reached the semi finals of the show in 2018, was a "highly predatory and manipulative" offender and targeted seven boys aged 14-16.

He told one boy "the more on show, the better the price" as he hounded him for pictures for his "own remote sexual gratification".

Tetley, from Wibsey, West Yorks., paid one boy a "record fee" of £350 for a photograph and offered to pay up to £1,000 to one youngster for an explicit video.

The former Pop Idol hopeful described the types of pictures he liked and would share images of other teenagers with them to encourage the boys to send him similar shots.

Danny Tetley performs on stage during The X Factor Live Tour  Credit:  Mike Lewis Photography

Tetley requested photos of boys with their genitals on show and told one: "Whoever f***s you first is in for a real treat."

Michael Smith, prosecuting, told the court: "He used his fame to influence or help persuade children - some of them he also groomed - to get them to send him indecent pictures.

"He used WhatsApp and would send photographs of himself.

"Aside from the requests for images, he would engage the boys in highly sexualised chat."

Mr Smith said he groomed one youngster between October 2018 and January 2019 when his "fame was at its height".

The youngster, who was a fan of Tetley's and supported him through the X-Factor show, was offered between £400 and £1,000 for pictures.

Mr Smith said: "All this communication came at a point while he was on the X-Factor.

"He offered £700 for nude photographs. He never sent any money.

"His fame and notoriety is part of his grooming. He was communicating with people who were enthralled with him."

Mr Smith told the court the victims initially contacted Tetley, of Bradford, West Yorks., over Facebook and entered into "innocent conversation".

But, Mr Smith argued, Tetley would flaunt his fame and influence to groom the youngsters, who were "enthralled" by him, and the conversation would continue on WhatsApp.

Tetley offered his victims VIP treatment at a rugby match and suggested to one young boy he could set him up with a casting agent to help him break into acting.

Mr Smith told the court one of his victims now has difficulty trusting adults and believes they are only nice to him because they want something.

The court heard after his arrest last May, Tetley contacted one boy to ask him to delete their chats, which was a breach of his bail conditions.

Andrew Dallas, in mitigation, said Tetley, who was born with a cleft pallet, was bullied severely at school and became addicted to cocaine after the murder of a close relative in his early twenties.

He said much of his offending took place while under the influence of drink and drugs late at night and was "pure fantasy".

He added that although Tetley, who appeared emotional in the dock as his charges were read out, had met some of his victims, no sexual contact was made.

Former X Factor contestant Danny Tetley who was jailed for nine years  Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Tetley pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual exploitation and two counts of distributing indecent images at previous hearings.

Sentencing Tetley to nine years in prison, with an extended licence period of eight years, Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC today (Fri) said: "The reality is that our society is deeply interested in celebrity, it does no harm.

"You exploited the status of your success. You traded on it to satisfy your perverted sexual needs.

"Many will see you for what unfortunately you are - a despicable creature with every few redeeming features.

"A pre-sentencing report described you as highly predatory and manipulative.

"It says you have shown persistent predatory and manipulative behaviour against children to have your sexual needs met.

"That is spot on to me."

An NSPCC spokesman said after sentencing: "Tetley's use of his TV appearances and promises of money in the thousands of messages he sent these boys, are an example of the depraved lengths that predators will go to in their pursuit of victims.

"This kind of abuse can have a profound and long-lasting impact, and this case underlines why it is so vital that social media companies are forced to make safeguarding our children their top priority.

"We continue to call on the Government to introduce new legislation that enforces a formal Duty of Care to keep young people safe online."