'Sadistic' British crocodile expert Adam Britton admits sexually abusing and killing dozens of dogs

A prominent British crocodile expert and academic has pleaded guilty to 56 charges of bestiality involving the rape, torture and killing of dogs.

Adam Britton tortured and exploited more than 42 dogs until his arrest in April 2022, Australian media reported.

The 51-year-old zoologist, based in Darwin, Australia, appeared at the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory (NT) on Monday where he admitted the charges - and also pleaded guilty to four counts of accessing and transmitting child abuse material.

Chief Justice Michael Grant said the offending - which resulted in the deaths of 39 dogs - "could only be described as grotesque cruelty" and urged members of the public, security staff and reporters to leave the court before the detailed charges were read out by prosecutor Marty Aust.

"These facts contain material that can only be described as grotesque and perverse acts of cruelty which is confronting and distressing and which in my assessment have the potential to cause nervous shock," the judge said.

The court heard Britton had a "sadistic sexual interest" in animals, and in particular dogs.

As well as torturing his own dogs, he also sourced animals from unsuspecting pet owners in the Darwin region.

"He often built a rapport with the dog owners in negotiating taking custody of their animals, many of whom had to reluctantly give their pets away due to travel or work commitments," Mr Aust told the court.

'I had repressed it... now I can't stop'

The prosecution said Britton owned a shipping container on his property with filming equipment and used the space "to torture, sexually exploit and kill dogs".

He would share videos and images of himself sexually exploiting the dogs on online forums under pseudonyms.

In one message, he wrote: "I had repressed it. In the last few years I let it out again, and now I can't stop. I don't want to."

One clip was sent to the NT Animal Welfare Branch and passed on to NT police, and led to his arrest.

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Police seized 44 items including computers, mobile phones, cameras, external hard drives, tools, weapons, dog paraphernalia and sex toys, ABC News reported.

Britton was a senior researcher at Charles Darwin University and also worked on BBC and National Geographic productions.

He once hosted Sir David Attenborough while the veteran broadcaster reportedly filmed part of a docuseries on his property.

Britton was remanded in custody until 13 December when he will be sentenced.