A paedophile Cambridge University graduate has admitted a ‘horrifying’ catalogue of more than 100 offences, including blackmailing victims into sending him severe abuse images of themselves and sharing them on the dark web.
He is now one of the UK’s most convicted sex offenders.
Dr Matthew Falder, 28, also admitted charges of causing the sexual exploitation of a child, voyeurism, making and distributing indecent images of children and even encouraging the rape of a four-year-old.
Since 2010, the Birmingham University geophysicist had degraded and humiliated more than 50 victims online using the names “666devil” and “evilmind”.
He admitted the offences at a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday.
He was arrested on June 21 this year and has been held in custody since that date.
Falder, of Edgbaston, Birmingham, posed as a female on sites such as Gumtree to trick his victims into sending him naked or partially-clothed images of themselves.
The geophysicist then threatened to expose his victims if they did not send severe and depraved abuse images of themselves.
He then distributed the images, including some which showed babies and children being tortured, on the dark web, and discussed them at length to humiliate the subjects.
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The case is the National Crime Agency’s first in “hurt core” offending – the hidden web forums dedicated to the discussion of and video sharing of “dark” material.
Judge Philip Parker QC remanded Falder into custody until December 7, when he will be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.
Ruona Iguyovwe, from the Crown Prosecution Service’s International Justice and Organised Crime Division, said: ‘Matthew Falder is a highly manipulative individual who used his knowledge of computers and the internet to persuade dozens of young people to supply him with degrading images he could distribute online and subsequently use in blackmailing them.
‘He clearly enjoyed humiliating his victims and the impact of his offending, which carried on over several years, has been significant.”‘
Mike Hames, former head of Scotland Yard’s Paedophile Squad, said: ‘He is a very nasty and savage individual.
‘Although his crimes were non-contact, they are very similar to hands-on abuse, by inducing his victims, by whatever means, into doing things they wouldn’t normally do.
‘And thereafter he would exercise his power over them to make them feel awful about themselves in many ways. It was a bit similar to rape.’
Matt Sutton, National Crime Agency senior investigating officer, said: ‘In 30 years of law enforcement I have never come across such horrifying offending where the offender’s sole aim was to cause such pain and distress.
‘There are more than 50 victims in this case and I commend them for their bravery in helping us convict a truly evil offender.
‘It has been an extremely complex investigation into a prolific online predator, who over several years believed he could evade law enforcement to sexually and sadistically exploit vulnerable victims.’