Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

Paedophile who targeted 2,000 victims sold child abuse as ‘box sets’

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Abdul-Hasib Elahi, 26, posed as a stockbroker during his sick reign of terror and blackmailed victims into committing horrific abuse of themselves, siblings and children and sold the footage as “boxsets” to other offenders. His victims were as young as eight months old.

Elahi had previously admitted 158 offences including blackmail, disclosing private photos, distributing indecent images, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, fraud, possessing extreme pornography, causing or inciting the sexual exploitation of a child and possessing more than 65,000 indecent images of children – including babies being raped.

A court heard the offences were committed between January 1, 2017 and August 7, 2020.

But up to now there had been a ban on reporting his pleas, Birmingham Live reports. This was lifted by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court today.

Another defendant, Kirsty Nicholls, 35, who knew Elahi from a sugar daddy website, had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault of a child and one of making an indecent photo.

Elahi and Nicholls will be sentenced at a later date.

Elahi of Sparkhill, Birmingham, provided online ‘master classes’ on the encrypted Telegram app to other offenders teaching them how to blackmail victims and obtain indecent images from children without being caught.

He operated by pretending to be a stockbroker or rich businessman on ‘sugar daddy’ websites.

He singled out victims who were in debt or too young to legitimately be on the sites and tricked victims into sending him naked or partially clothed images of themselves. He also targeted some victims on social media.

He promised payment of thousands of pounds for posed images and sent fake screenshots of money leaving his account in similar transactions to convince victims.

An investigation by the National Crime Agency revealed there were at least 196 victims in the UK and that he had contacted at least 600 people online in the UK

He had also tried to contact 1,367 women in the United States and there were also victims in 20 other countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

As soon as possible, Elahi moved victims onto WhatsApp and away from the websites he met them on.

When he received enough revealing images he threatened to expose the pictures to the victims’ families and friends unless they sent more.

Some of the victims were so terrified they felt they had no choice but to comply.

He systematically categorised all the abuse within cloud storage sites.

He then sold the content as ‘box sets’ through the cloud and via the encrypted app Telegram making more than £25,000.

That resulted in further misery for the victims, with their family and friends becoming aware, and often with more offenders trying to blackmail them again.

National Crime Agency (NCA) officers arrested unemployed Elahi on 19 December 2018 following an allegation he was blackmailing a 15-year-old girl in America. His mobile phone and computers were seized and forensically examined.

Tony Cook, NCA Head of CSA operations, said: “The investigation team have been horrified by Elahi’s sadistic depravity and stunned by the industrial scale of his worldwide offending.

“Elahi sought sexual gratification from having power and control of his victims and he’s displayed zero empathy for them.

“He often goaded them to the point of wanting to kill themselves.

“The long-term effects on the victims in this case will continue throughout the rest of their lives.

“I commend the victims for their bravery and I urge anyone who is being abused online to report it. There is help available.

“Sadly there are very many offenders like Elahi who mask their real identities with convincing personas to exploit both children and adults.

“I urge parents to speak with their children about who they communicate with online and what they share.

“People need to understand these offences can happen to anyone.

“Our investigation has sparked a series of other inquiries into Elahi’s associates and there is ongoing work to bring others to justice.”

Source: Read Full Article

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