A Cambridge University graduate and computer genius has been jailed for 32 years after becoming a prolific online pedophile.
Dr. Matthew Falder is the first person convicted for so-called "hurt core" offending — hidden web forums dedicated to the discussion of and sharing of "dark" material such as pedophilia, after an investigation by Britain's National Crime Agency.
Falder used the online names 666devil and evilmind on websites such as Gumtree, where he posed as a depressed female artist and offered money for images.
Tricked and Blackmailed
He then blackmailed his victims into sending increasingly obscene images and at one point tried to encourage a victim to rape a four-year-old boy.
University of Birmingham researcher Dr Matthew Falder has been jailed for 32 years after pleading guilty to 137 sexual abuse offences— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) 19 February 2018
Falder sent a "constant stream" of increasingly depraved requests, ordering one young girl to lick a used female sanitary product and record herself holding racist and homophobic signs. Another victim was told to lick a toilet bowl.
The 29-year-old geophysicist, who lived and worked in Birmingham, masked his true identity using a complex computer web of servers and boasted that he could never be caught.
But the NCA eventually tracked him down and, faced with a mountain of evidence, he admitted 137 "hurt core" charges.
Falder shut his eyes as a judge sentenced him at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday, February 19.
Hundreds of Victims Around the World
During a three-day sentencing hearing earlier this month the judge heard victim impact statements from some of the 300 people Falder had targeted globally.
#Breaking Matthew Falder, one of Britain’s most prolific paedophiles, has been jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for 32 years after blackmailing victims into carrying out depraved sexual and physical acts— Press Association (@PA) 19 February 2018
He used anonymizing web software to trick victims into posing in embarrassing positions and then blackmailed them, threatening to release the images to their family, friends, employers and school friends unless they submitted to his requests.
His tactics bore echoes of an episode of the television series Black Mirror.
Judge Philip Parker QC said he was an "internet highwayman" who had a lust for controlling and tormenting victims.
"It is a tale of ever-increasing depravity. The effects on the girls, women and men were devastating. The damage is ongoing for these individuals. It will never end. Time and again people begged you to stop. Time and again you ramped up the pressure," said Judge Parker.
"In more than 30 years of law enforcement I've never come across an offender whose sole motivation was to inflict such profound anguish and pain. Matthew Falder revelled in it," said the NCA's senior investigating officer, Matt Sutton.
"This investigation represents a watershed moment. Falder is not alone so we will continue to develop and deliver our capabilities nationally for the whole law enforcement system to stop offenders like him from wrecking innocent lives," said Mr. Sutton.
"Matthew Falder is a highly manipulative individual who clearly enjoyed humiliating his many victims and the impact of his offending has been significant," said prosecutor Ruona Iguyovwe.