UK

Abuser Richard Huckle's parents 'begged police to take him away'

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Media captionOne of Richard Huckle's victims told the BBC she wanted him in prison forever

The parents of a man who committed numerous sex crimes against Malaysian children begged police to take him away, a court has heard.

Richard Huckle, 30, from Ashford in Kent, admitted committing the offences against victims aged between six months and 12 years between 2006 and 2014.

The Old Bailey heard that, when he told his parents what he had done, they called the police.

His sentencing hearing, which began on Wednesday, is due to finish on Friday.

The 91 charges against him related to 23 children from mainly poor communities in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

He admitted 71 of the charges and the prosecutor asked that the other counts "lie on file".

'Upset and angry'

Huckle, a freelance photographer, was arrested at Gatwick Airport by National Crime Agency officials in December 2014.

Prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC told the court that Huckle refused to answer officers' questions and his computer equipment was seized.

He was bailed on condition he return to his parents' home. The next day his mother asked him about the allegations and he admitted he had had sex with children aged between three and 13.


How Huckle was caught

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Media captionThe BBC's Angus Crawford traces the path of Richard Huckle in Kuala Lumpur

By Angus Crawford, BBC News

One word and a freckle indirectly led to Richard Huckle's arrest.

Police in Australia and Europe were aware of a paedophile site called the Love Zone hidden in the so-called dark web. It was protected by passwords, encryption and specialist software. Users were totally anonymous.

The images and videos there were particularly disturbing - showing the abuse of babies and very young children.

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Mr O'Neill said: "His mother was both extremely upset and extremely angry. She and his father called the police and asked them to take their son away.

"Both have made witness statements in support of this prosecution."

It is believed Huckle abused up to 200 children. He boasted about his crimes on the "dark web", saying in one online discussion that "Impoverished kids are definitely much easier to seduce than middle-class Western kids."

Details of the abuse can only now be reported after a court order put in place to protect the victims from other online abusers was lifted.

Huckle, who presented himself as a practising Christian, first visited Malaysia on a teaching gap year when he was 18 or 19. He went on to groom children while doing voluntary work.

Paedophile manual

Investigators uncovered numerous indecent pictures and videos Huckle took of himself abusing girls and boys. More than 20,000 indecent images were found on his computer.

Huckle wrote a paedophile manual called "Paedophiles And Poverty: Child Lover Guide", as well as a series of notes in which he detailed rapes and various sex acts.

The encrypted manual was on Huckle's laptop ready for publication on the "dark web". At his first plea hearing at the Old Bailey, it took more than an hour to read out all the charges.

At an earlier hearing, Judge Peter Rook QC told Huckle the charges amounted to "sexual offending of the utmost gravity" and said he was "considering life sentences" in his case.

An NSPCC spokesman said Huckle's "delight in abusing babies and toddlers" which he boasted about on the internet showed "the depths of his warped depravity".

The charity also called on internet service providers to "cleanse the web of these images and prevent them from being viewed in the first place".

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