Predatory sex offender David Wilson, 36, one of Britain’s worst paedophiles, has been jailed for 25 years.
Wilson, a labourer, pretended to be a teenage girl to abuse a vast amount of children and blackmailed over 500 boys aged between four and 14 into sending him extreme abuse videos after getting them to send him pictures, leaving some of his victims feeling suicidal.
Wilson approached more than 5,000 boys worldwide by pretending to be a number of different teenage girls – mainly through Facebook – and blackmailed some victims into abusing younger siblings or friends and sending him the footage.
He is one of the most prolific child sexual abuse offenders the National Crime Agency has ever investigated, the NCA revealed.
Wilson terrorised his young victims who were terrified and felt they had no choice but to do what he demanded. Some were so traumatised they spoke of wanting end their lives.
Yesterday at Ipswich Crown Court, Wilson, admitted 96 sex offences against 52 boys aged from just four to 14 between May 2016 and April 2020.
Judge Rupert Overbury said in his 40 year career Wilson’s offending was among the worst he had seen.
He told Wilson: “You demonstrated a complete and utter disregard for every child you manipulated irrespective of their age.
“There was a sadistic element to your offending including blackmail and a relentless targeting of vulnerable children who often pleaded for mercy.”
He added: “You are in my judgement an extremely dangerous individual who has a perverted and sadistic sexual interest in young boys. On the facts presented to the court you can properly be described as a serial paedophile.”
Police bodycam footage showing the early morning arrest of predatory sex offender David Wilson
Using unregistered phones, Wilson scoured social media sites for vulnerable victims.
NCA officers find paedophile David Wilson’s mobile phone thrown down to the toilet after they arrested him in a dawn raid at his home in April 2020 – the phone contained evidence of his offending
The phone after it is retrieved from the toilet
To deceive young boys into believing they were talking to a teenage girl, he created a spider’s web of fake girls’ identities. He sent them sexual images of young women from the internet in exchange for the boys sending him videos and images of themselves. He built up trust with his victims before blackmailing them into sending him more extreme footage of themselves – and in some cases, of them abusing younger siblings or friends.
Wilson then distributed the images to some of his victims’ friends.
Tony Cook, NCA Head of CSA operations, said: “David Wilson has absolutely devastated not only his victims but the families they belong to.
“He has caused heart-breaking suffering and huge disruption to the lives of those he targeted from the problems his abuse caused.
“Wilson preyed on their vulnerability. They genuinely believed they were talking to a teenage girl who was interested in them.
An NCA officer tells Wilson what he is being arrested for
“He groomed, bullied and blackmailed young boys into sending him indecent images and in some instances performing horrific abuse on themselves and others. Despite knowing their utter anguish and despair he ignored their pleas for him to stop.
“He retained indecent material and threatened to share it among victims’ friends so he could maintain control of them.
“Sadly there are many offenders out there like Wilson who use the internet to hide their real identities, using convincing personas to groom children.
“I urge parents to speak with their children about who they communicate with online and what they share. People need to understand this can happen to anyone.
“Many boys’ parents in this case spoke of their disbelief that their children had become victims.
“It’s vital children know they can turn to a parent or trusted adult for help without blame.
“I commend the victims’ bravery and their families for helping us put Wilson in jail.”
Wilson, of Kirstead, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, committed most of his offences on Facebook and the company was crucial in bringing him to justice by making 90 referrals about Wilson’s offending.
However the NCA said Facebook’s current plans to encrypt its messenger service will mean offenders like Wilson will likely go undetected because the company will no longer be able to see evidence of crimes and report them to global law enforcement.
Rob Jones, NCA Director of Threat Leadership, said: “Facebook’s plans are a disaster for child safety and law enforcement and mean the very many other David Wilsons out there will not be caught.
“Criminals will be drawn to Facebook, emboldened and confident it’s a place they can search for children to sexually abuse with complete impunity.
“Facebook Messenger is already strongly encrypted, enabling them to detect grooming and known abuse images while protecting privacy.
“It was the company’s referrals that helped us identify Wilson, discover the full picture of his prolific offending and ensure he was locked up.
CCTV footage showing predatory sex offender David Wilson shopping for milk before his arrest on April 6 2020
“There are two billion people on Facebook and we know a large number of them are targeting children to abuse them.
“In 2019 Facebook made 15.8 million global referrals of child sexual abuse material, they have been a huge help to lawful investigations and child safeguarding.
“But their plans will create a haven for child sex offenders to congregate to target children.
“It’s not too late for Facebook to change their mind.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The tireless efforts of the NCA have put a truly awful criminal behind bars, providing justice to those who suffered as well as protecting hundreds of potential victims.
“This sickening case is a chilling reminder of how crucial it is that tech companies play their part in combating child sexual abuse.
“It is vital that Facebook do not press ahead without amending their current end-to-end-encryption plans, otherwise sick criminals like David Wilson could still be abusing children with impunity.”
Chief Constable Simon Bailey, national policing lead for child protection, said: “The information from Facebook was crucial in bringing Wilson to justice. Which is why I am concerned about Facebook planning to introduce further encryption and privacy protections, making it harder for us to prevent exploitation and find child sexual abusers like Wilson.
If you have been affected by anything in this report then information and advice can be found on the Thinkuknow website. Links also include advice for parents, carers and professionals.
Child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation runs the Stop It Now! helpline which offers confidential advice to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s behaviour towards children.
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