Two female British Army soldiers sold explicit sexual footage of themselves to a male colleague – who then blackmailed them by threatening to expose them online, a court martial heard.
Private Thomas Davies, of 3 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, based at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, offered to pay them up to £400 for intimate content.
A military court heard that the private treated his victims like "prey" and threatened to expose them to family members.
The photos and videos sent reportedly began as "genuine business transactions" before Davies later threatened to share the photos of both women on social media if the cash was not sent back to him.
Demanding his money back, the 22-year-old sent one of the women's aunts a screenshot from an explicit video she had made of herself carrying out a sexual act with her boyfriend.
Davies has since admitted to two counts of blackmail and has been dismissed from the Army with a judge condemning him for treating his victims as "commodities".
Major James Eveleigh, prosecuting, told Bulford Military Court that the first woman – who has since left the Army – had first been paid to send Davies sexual photos on Snapchat, before agreeing to send a sex tape of her and her partner for £400.
He explained: "[The first female soldier] consensually shared intimate personal images with a Snapchat user [Davies], for which she was paid £125.
"She later shared a sex tape for £400. When she did not receive payment she challenged that Snapchat user.
"[Davies] demanded she return all the money [he had paid to her] or he would share the images and video on social media and with her aunt.
"She paid £70 by bank transfer. Despite this, her aunt later received an image of her in a state of undress."
The court heard that the second victim was approached by Davies for images of her in her underwear, before agreeing to be paid £60 for a video call while she was wearing a bikini.
However, without her knowing, Davies screen recorded the call and threatened to share the video unless the woman paid him back his money.
"Pte Davies asked [the second female soldier] to send images of her in her underwear," Major Eveleigh continued.
"She later video called him. She was wearing a bikini. He paid her £60.
"He had recorded the video call and said he would share it online unless she paid him. She paid him £60 later the same day.
"[Davies] acted upon other service personnel as prey."
Defence for Davies said that although her client's actions were unacceptable, "it is agreed that both these service personnel had agreed to take photographs of themselves and sell them for a fee".
"The two complainants, in this case, entered into a genuine business transaction.
"This was consensual between all parties. It took a turn when Pte Davies decided he could not afford to pay this money.
"In terms of one of the complainants and the video, that is perhaps the most serious matter of the offences.
"She agreed to send a video of herself [performing a sexual act] in exchange for £400. [Davies] refused to pay that money.
"As a (young person) who grew up in a generation of people who seem to put their entire lives on social media, [Davies] didn't think there was anything wrong [with what he did].
"That perhaps gives you an insight into his mind and his maturity – or lack of."
Victim impact statements
The court martial heard that as part of his blackmail Davies had sent a video of himself scrolling through the first victim's Facebook friends list, saying she had two minutes to send the money.
Victim impact statements read to the court heard the first victim, who had the screenshot of her explicit act sent to her aunt, had left her in fear of how her family now viewed her.
"I feel less trustworthy of people," the statement read. "Screenshots of the video were sent to a family member of me topless.
"I fear they may see me differently now," she added.
In her impact statement, the second victim said she no longer felt comfortable using social media and avoids talking to people online as a result of the incident.
Assistant Judge Advocate General Darren Reed told Davies the "nasty" blackmail offences warranted the disgraced soldier's dismissal, but stopped short of jailing him.
"These women appeared to be a commodity [to you]," Judge Reed said.
"You appeared to have treated them without any care for their integrity or security.
"You may have taken some time looking for their social media profiles before targeting them.
"These were mean and nasty offences committed against two fellow soldiers who were deliberately targeted. You clearly intended to maximise threat and humiliation.
"You have corroded the bonds of trust between service personnel. There is no place in the Army for those who blackmail their colleagues," he added.
Davies was kicked out of the Armed Forces and handed an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.