Moment police pounce on one of Britain's worst paedophiles, who 'targeted 5,000 children'

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Watch: Police arrest paedophile who targeted more than 5,000 children

Footage shows the moment officers arrest a paedophile who targeted more than 5,000 children as young as four during his campaign of online child sexual abuse.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) described David Wilson, of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, as “one of the most prolific offenders” it has ever investigated, and believes he may have up to 500 victims.

The 36-year-old pleaded guilty to 96 counts of child sexual abuse against boys aged between four and 14 at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday.

Bodycam footage shows officers entering Wilson’s home and detaining him in a living room while charges against him are read out and the reason for his arrest is given to him.

David Wilson was told he faces a lengthy prison sentence. (PA/NCA)
David Wilson was told he faces a lengthy prison sentence. (PA/NCA)

Wilson, a labourer, made fake social media identities and posed as a teenage girl to contact his victims online between May 2016 and April 2020.

Facebook found 20 accounts of boys aged between 12 and 15 that had sent indecent images of themselves to an account apparently belonging to a 13-year-old girl, and forwarded the information to the NCA.

The agency said he used unregistered phones to send sexual images of young women he found on the internet in order for boys to send back videos and images of themselves.

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Wilson would work to win his victims’ trust before blackmailing them into sending more extreme footage.

In some instances, he would get them to send clips of them abusing younger siblings or friends.

He would sometimes distribute images to his victims’ friends, and the impact this had on some of the boys led to them talking about wanting to end their lives.

His offences included causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act, and arranging or facilitating the sexual exploitation of a child.

Wilson is seen being arrested in the footage. (NCA)
Wilson is seen being arrested in the footage. (NCA)

He also pleaded guilty to making unwarranted demands for indecent images of a child with menace, threatening to post an indecent image on social media if they did not comply.

The NCA said Wilson “showed no compassion even when some victims begged him to stop”.

The agency found IP addresses used to commit the abuse linked to his house and CCTV of him buying a top-up voucher for a phone number linked to one of the invented Facebook profiles.

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During his August 2017 arrest the NCA also found the phone he used to commit some of his crimes hidden in his bedroom.

The agency used communication data to link the fake profiles and prove Wilson was behind them, and said it has evidence he contacted more than 5,000 children in the UK and abroad.

Tony Cook, NCA head of child sexual abuse operations, said: “David Wilson is a prolific offender who has caused heart-breaking suffering to some of the boys and their families in this case.

Footage shows officers entering a home to arrest Wilson. (NCA)
Footage shows officers entering a home to arrest Wilson. (NCA)

“He was able to gain the boys’ trust and exploit their use of social media using well-practised techniques to convince them he was genuinely a young female who was interested in them.

“He then manipulated or forced them to send images of themselves or other children which he craved.

“He knew the anguish victims were suffering but ignored any pleas from them to stop until he got what he wanted from them.”

A Facebook spokesperson said: “Child exploitation and grooming have no place on our platforms.”

Wilson will be sentenced on 12 January and was warned he faces a lengthy prison sentence.

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