One of Britain’s worst paedophiles, who abused babies and raped children as young as three, faces 22 life sentences.
Richard Huckle, 30, awarded himself points for how vile the offences were and even wrote an instruction manual ‘Paedos in Poverty: A Child Lovers Guide’ on how to groom children and how to distribute videos secretly on the dark web.
He boasted online that it was easier to abuse poor Asian children rather than wealthier Western kids.
Huckle pleaded guilty, to 71 offences involving 23 children aged from three months to 12 years old in Malaysia and Cambodia.
His crimes included filming child rape and sexual assault which he posted for sale on the dark web via website called True Love Zone (TMZ) and for which he was paid in Bitcoins.
Some of his victims were living in children’s home while they were being abused, and Huckle would gain the trust of a community by providing English language tuition.
He first visited Malaysia in 2005 on a gap-year teaching placement, before returning in 2007 to a small village where he took up a voluntary teaching post in a small village where he abused two sisters for seven years.
Huckle has also pleaded guilty to advertising for sale indecent images of children and abuse for online Bitcoins on the dark web on site Paedo Funding, though it is not known how much he has made from his abuse.
He also produced a 60 page guide for other paedophiles called ‘Paedos in Poverty: A Child Lovers Guide’, giving tips how to abuse, which was ready for publication at the time of his arrest in December 2014.
The investigation which brought Huckle to justice was led by the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP).
Tony Cook, NCA CEOP Head of Operations, described Huckle as a “lone offender”, and said since 2005 he has travelled to regularly to South East Asia, particularly Malaysia.
“He presented himself as a legitimate student, photographer, English teacher and philanthropist but his MO was that he was abusing the children he purported to care about.
“He targeted, in particular, impoverished children, families in the poor community in Kuala Lumpur, which is 6,500 miles away from the UK, which added to the complexities of our investigation.
“He exploited their poverty and Huckle used a pseudonym and stated he was living in India to cover his tracks.
“He went on to Malaysia to abuse girls, boys, babies, toddlers and pre-teens.
“His abuse included multiple rapes and penetrative assaults and he uploaded still and moving images and graphic details to paedophile networks on the dark web.
“Amazingly enough he kept an electronic ledger to record his abuse on which he awarded himself points. He scored the offences depending on the severity, of his own offences for his own purposes.
“He would score one point to himself per category per victim.
“The scale of his offending can be shown by the fact he got himself to 1305 points between November 2013 and November 2014.
“He would sum up each week with dates against the name of the victim, the location, age and sex and tick against one or more categories he scored in.”
He continued: “This goes to show the scale of depravity of this particular individual.
“He also produced a paedophile manual on how to select and abuse his victims and to show others how to avoid detection.”
Mr Cook said: “There is no doubt the quantity and quality of this offending of this particular individual would have increased had he not been arrested.
“He is only 30 years of age so we can only imagine what sort of offending he had in front of him had we not intervened.”
On his arrival in the UK from Malaysia in December 2014 at Gatwick airport he was arrested and searched and officers found the camera he used to take many of the indecent images.
With the help of an analytical expert police were able to identify him as the abuser in some of the images.
Mr Cook said: “He was charged with 91 counts, which is an unprecedented and exceptional amount of offences and offending.
“Out of the 91, he has pleaded guilty to 71, and I will add that 22 of those carry life sentences, which will give you an idea of the serious nature of Huckle’s offending.
“Ninety one counts is a staggering amount of offences to have on an indictment as well as the amount of guilty pleas.
“He had got away with these offences there is no doubt, for up to nine years, but finally we can now see him held accountable for his actions.
“We hope this case will send out a very very strong message to any trans-national child sex offenders who travel overseas to abuse children in this way.
“It shows they will still face justice in the UK despite the lengths they go to.”
Matt Long, Deputy Head of Operations from Ceop, described how Huckle was able to ingratiate himself with his target communities saying: “I think he was extremely good at grooming, which is not a pleasant concept.
“He would use any opportunity he had to influence, cajole and manipulate people into a position where he was given access to children.
“He was doing all the time, he was a constant groomer. He integrated himself into small communities which were vulnerable, impoverished and poor.
Mr Long added: “I have dealt with an awful lot of paedophiles over the years and I think he is one of the most committed, most manipulative, and conniving paedophiles we have come across where he has been so committed to using a variety of grooming methods that there was no point he would stop.”
When asked if there had been any victims in the UK, Tony Cook said: “We are not absolutely certain. We have investigated the offences we have got evidence and intelligence against.
“If we had evidence he committed offences in the UK then we would have investigated them. That’s not to say he hasn’t committed offences in the UK.”
The NCA says there are more victims out there, but it has taken every step it can to identify them.
Huckle would also boast online to his paedophile friends about his abuse.
In one comment he said: “Its impoverished kids are definitely much much easier to seduce than middle-class western kids. I still plan on publishing a guide on the subject some time.”
In another one he said: “As long as I keep a broad number of contacts amongst the poorer people I know, I’m sure some will be inclined for someone of high status, such as myself, to be caring for their kids for the long or short term.”
He also described his desire to make money from his abuse, saying: “Would love to make a small income off of selling child porn.”
In another he said: “If I were to transfer my skills learnt from India and tried to use them in the west I wouldn’t last a month before I found myself in a cell. My freedom relies on the hush mentality of the locals on this kind of thing.
“I guess it’s a bit similar to what xxxxxx were doing in the 1970s. It didn’t matter back then but it is all coming out now thanks to a change in society’s attitudes. If India becomes liberated and I become professionally successful, maybe I could be facing the wrath in 20 to 40 years.”
In another post he said: “It will likely take something very serious to get me to stop or slow down… if I’m not suffering consequences what is there for me to learn from.”
Huckle, 30, from Ashford, Kent, pleaded guilty to 71 offences and his sentencing began at the Old Bailey today and is expected to last until Friday.