Saturday 3 December 2016

Paedophile who abused up to 200 Malaysian children handed 22 life sentences

Published 06/06/2016 | 11:17

Richard Huckle: guilty plea (Picture: PA)
Richard Huckle: guilty plea (Picture: PA)

One of Britain's worst paedophiles, who posted on the so-called "dark web" as he abused up to 200 Malaysian children, has been handed 22 life sentences.

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Freelance photographer Richard Huckle, from Ashford in Kent, admitted an unprecedented number of offences against children aged between six months and 12 years from 2006 to 2014.

Judge Peter Rook QC ordered the 30-year-old to serve a minimum term of 25 years.

A stream of pictures and videos of his rapes and assaults on children were shared with paedophiles worldwide through the now defunct dark website TLZ - The Love Zone.

He even tried to make a business out of his horrific crimes by crowd-funding the release of the images and was compiling a paedophile's manual at the time of his arrest by the National Crime Agency.

Twenty-three children from poor Christian communities in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur were identified in 71 charges, although Huckle's tally of abuse which he catalogued on a "Pedopoints ledger" was much higher.

Huckle stood in prayer as he was sentenced by Judge Peter Rook QC.

The judge told him: "You have pleaded guilty to as many as 71 sexual offences. It is very rare indeed that a judge has to sentence sexual offending by one person on such a scale as this."

Huckle was consumed by and obsessed with his own sexual gratification, he said.

And his "campaign of rape" was of "deep concern", the judge said.

As Huckle was sent down, a woman in the public gallery shouted out that "1,000 deaths is too good for you".

Huckle first visited Malaysia on a teaching gap year when he was 19 and went on to groom more children posing as a respectable Christian English teacher and philanthropist.

He was arrested by National Crime Agency officials as he arrived at Gatwick Airport en route to spend Christmas with his family in 2014.

Officers seized Huckle's encrypted laptop and, although he refused to hand over passwords, they managed to uncover 20,000 indecent pictures and videos.

They found Huckle's paedophile manual called Paedophiles And Poverty: Child Lover Guide and a "Pedopoints ledger" in which he awarded himself marks for the abuse of 191 girls and boys.

In online posts, Huckle bragged: "Impoverished kids are definitely much easier to seduce than middle-class Western kids."

Offering advice to other like-minded people, he wrote: "If you really want to fully embrace child love, poverty is the way to go."

He said middle-class children were protected "no-go areas" while the less privileged may be "ugly, ill-mannered and unhealthy", the court heard.

Commenting on one of his victims, he boasted: "I'd hit the jackpot, a 3yo girl as loyal to me as my dog and nobody seemed to care."

Huckle crowd-funded the release of indecent images of the three-year-old girl in exchange for Bitcoins, achieving 105% of his target.

His parents were so horrified when he confessed his crimes that they begged police to take him away and made statements to support his prosecution, the court heard.

Ahead of his sentencing, Huckle claimed to a psychiatrist that he wanted to put his "madness" behind him and settle down with a south Indian woman.

But the court was shown a posting from 2013 in which he outlined his plan to marry one of his victims in order to help him abuse more children.

In a message to TMZ's 7,000 users, he described how he had "fallen in love" with South Asia and its "adorable kids".

He wrote: "I have gotten particularly close with one family whom I have known about six years.

"I have sexual contact with four of the girls in that family and, though the family obviously does not approve it, they try to work around it as they know I can be a potentially valuable asset to them in future."

On planning to marry one of the girls when she turns 18, he wrote: "I feel my situation could strongly benefit me in that my partner is still quite young and I have known her since she was seven and I can influence her young mind to mould her into the perfect wife.

"My ambition once married would be for our family to be like foster carers for children, temporary or long term."

The prosecution argued that Huckle's crimes were "wholly exceptional" and should not fall within the usual sentencing guidelines.

Judge Rook told Huckle: "In my view, you may well harbour feelings of regret but there is no feeling of genuine remorse in this case."

The life sentence reflected the "public abhorrence" for Huckle's offending, he added.

The judge told Huckle his "self-delusion knows no bounds" and the paedophile manual he had written was a "truly evil document".

He went on: "You were and are sexually obsessed with children. You have spent years abusing them. In one of your postings you stated that you had become consumed by your paedophilia.

"It is clear from your postings on hidden encrypted paedophile websites on the dark web, and from the manual you were in the process of drafting, that your life revolved around your obsession with your own sexual gratification by child sex abuse.

"It is also clear that, had you not been arrested, you planned to continue the same lifestyle using the expertise that you were keen to show off to and share with other abusers so as to continue your sexual exploitation of the children of such communities."

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