A sexual predator considered one of the UK's worst child molesters after confessing to 96 sex crimes against 51 boys has potentially thousands of victims around the world, research has found.
David Wilson, 36, of King & # 39; s Lynn, Norfolk, created a series of fake identities on Facebook and other social media, posing as teenage girls in an attempt to attract his victims – boys ages four to 14.
Using unregistered phones, he sent sexual pictures of young women on the Internet in exchange for the boys who sent him videos and pictures of themselves.
Wilson built 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.
The National Crime Agency, which had been investigating Wilson for two years, described him as one of the most prolific sex offenders they had come across.
However, investigators found evidence that up to 500 victims sent him pictures – and that Wilson contacted at least 5,000 children in the UK and abroad.
David Wilson pictured has been described as one of the UK's most prolific perpetrators after admitting 96 crimes against 51 boys. However, police fear he could have attacked up to 5,000 children across the UK, Australia and America based on evidence uncovered on Facebook
He showed no compassion even when some victims asked him to stop – and some of his child victims even admitted that they wanted to end their lives because of the suffering Wilson had inflicted on them.
Wilson appeared at Ipswich Crown Court today and admitted 96 offenses against 51 boys.
It took a clerk about 30 minutes to read out all of the charges, and Wilson pleaded guilty in turn.
Crimes committed between May 2016 and April 2020 included extortion; intentional inducement or incitement of boys to sexual activities; and intentionally getting children to look at sexual images.
Wilson was arrested and taken into custody during a raid on his home in August 2017
National Crime Agency officials ransacked Wilson's home in Norfolk in August 2017
Investigators forced entry into the vile predator's house and searched the property where they found the phone used to send explicit messages on Facebook that were hidden in his bedroom
Other charges related to the intentional facilitation of the sexual exploitation of children by sending pictures of these children.
The agency said Wilson, due to be convicted in January, is one of the most prolific offenders the NCA has ever investigated.
In June and July 2017, Facebook identified 20 accounts of boys ages 12-15 who had posted naughty pictures of themselves to an account that appears to be owned by a 13-year-old girl.
The material has been forwarded for investigation by NCMEC – the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – to the NCA, which receives industry recommendations before forwarding them to law enforcement for investigation.
The NCA uncovered important evidence against Wilson, including IP addresses used in the commission of the crimes identified in his home.
The agency also uncovered CCTV footage in which he bought a recharge voucher for a phone number linked to one of the fake Facebook accounts.
When he was arrested in August 2017, the phone that was used to commit some of the crimes was hidden in his bedroom.
He was released on bail so that the investigation could continue.
The NCA uncovered a web of false social media identities that he used to commit crimes and received dozens of other referrals from the NCMEC between November 2017 and January 2018.
In total, Facebook material consisted of 90 recommendations from NCMEC to the NCA.
The relevant evidence contained more than 250,000 messages to victims across the UK, Australia and America.
In April of that year, Wilson was charged and remanded on three counts. In August he was charged in prison for the remaining number.
Tony Cook, director of the NCA's Child Sexual Abuse Unit, said, “David Wilson is a prolific offender who has caused heartbreaking suffering to some boys and their families in this case.
“He was able to gain the boys' trust and use their use of social media, using well-practiced techniques, to convince them that he really was a young woman interested in them.
In a video shared by the NCA, Wilson (pictured) can be seen rolling his eyes as an officer reads out the crimes he allegedly committed at the time of his arrest in August 2017
Then he manipulated or forced her to send pictures of himself or other children that he longed for.
He knew the victims were suffering from the fear, but ignored any requests from them to stop until he got what he wanted from them.
Wilson kept material that the children had sent and used the threat of sharing it among their friends to control them.
I commend the victims and their families for their courage in helping the prosecution and our investigators in carefully and tenaciously demonstrated that Wilson is responsible.
Wilson is an example of adult sex offenders using the internet to hide their true identities and using plausible online personas to exploit children.
“We know that children are increasingly sharing personal material on social media websites.
"I would ask them to think carefully about their online interactions and be aware of the hurt and long-term harm that manipulative criminals like Wilson can cause."
In the wake of the tragedy, police chiefs urged Facebook to reconsider its move towards end-to-end messaging encryption that will likely allow predators like Wilson to go undetected.
Rob Jones, NCA director of threat management, said, “This was a major investigation that brought a very dangerous offender to justice.
& # 39; It's terrifying to think that Wilson wouldn't have been caught if Facebook had already implemented its end-to-end encryption plans that completely prevent access to news content.
& # 39; The NCA, broader law enforcement and child safety groups are aware that the move will turn off the lights for the police and effectively protect offenders like Wilson.
Wilson pleaded guilty to 96 sexual abuse offenses at Ipswich Crown Court (pictured) today
& # 39; Facebook Messenger is already protected by strong encryption, which still enables the company to recognize care and known abuse images.
& # 39; It was Facebook's first identification of Wilson's accounts in June and July 2017 that provided the information that opened this investigation.
& # 39; Content from Facebook Messenger conversations was also vital throughout the process.
"Had this content been encrypted throughout, there is a real risk that justice would not have been served and that Wilson continues to abuse the victims today."
The NCA urges anyone victim of a similar crime to report the matter to local police or to seek information and advice on the Thinkuknow website.
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