RAF Squadron Leader Jailed Over Indecent Images Of Children (Colin/Wikimedia)

A senior RAF officer's exemplary career is lying in tatters after he was jailed for 18 months for possessing indecent images of children.

Squadron Leader Kevin Scrafton had been "catfishing" by creating fake social media profiles of two 15-year-old girls to get teenage boys and girls to send him indecent pictures.

The 38-year-old, a nurse who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq during his 18-year military career, was also dismissed from the Royal Air Force by the sentencing court martial board in Bulford, Wiltshire.

The married father-of-two targeted 10 victims, aged between 15 and 17, on social media chatrooms. 

Switching the conversation to the private Facebook, he would then send them pornographic pictures and ask for images in return.

Lieutenant Colonel Graham Coombes, prosecuting, said: "The accused downloaded photographs from Instagram to create fake profiles on Facebook and Twitter...

"He admitted possession of the images but did not provide an explanation for how he had possession of them and why he had saved them.

"He denied having a sexual attraction to the victims and he denied obtaining sexual gratification from them."

Scrafton was arrested in November last year and one Category A image depicting a sex act between two consenting teenagers; three Category B images and 54 Category C images showing "erotic posing" were recovered from a computer.

One of the victims, who had faced a police investigation for voyeurism, said in a statement they had been misled by Scrafton:

"It affected me at school and my grades and it has affected my family and my mum gets upset by talking about it.

"I feel ashamed and embarrassed."

Another victim said they relapsed into self-harming and also suffered from depression.

Scrafton earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of making indecent photographs of a child and 15 charges of possession of an indecent photograph.

The court heard that even though Scrafton was dismissed from the military he would immediately receive his pension worth £23,500 a year and get a lump sum of £88,214.

The court-martial board reduced Scrafton's term of imprisonment to 18 months, placed him on the sex offenders' register for 10 years and made him subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

Passing sentence, Assistant Judge Advocate General Alan Large said Scrafton was a man of "impeccable character".

"The number of images, in this case, do not properly portray the gravity of this offending and we have taken the view that the way in which you committed these offences is highly relevant," he said.

"This is not a 'standard' case of a man surfing sites on the internet and downloading a few dozen images.

"It is case that highlights the dangers to which young people are exposed to on the internet when having highly sexualised conversations with total strangers in social media chatrooms.

"You are sexually interested in both the person you were talking to, as well as their own sexual activities with their boyfriend or girlfriend.

"We accept that the conversation you had was not against the law but the way in which you went about it was sophisticated, devious and prolonged.

"We take the view that an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate and you will be dismissed from Her Majesty's services."

Cover picture courtesy of Colin/Wikimedia.