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  1. ITV Report

British paedophile who abused up to 200 victims set to spend rest of life behind bars

Richard Huckle Credit: PA

One of Britain's worst paedophiles faces spending the rest of his life behind bars for a catalogue of horrific sex crimes against children which he bragged about on the dark web and allocated himself "pedopoints" for the horrific acts.

The youngest of Richard Huckle's victims was just six-months-old, while the oldest was only 12-years-old.

The freelance photographer admitted an unprecedented number of offences against 23 children from mainly poor Christian communities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur Credit: PA

I'd hit the jackpot, a three-year-old girl as loyal to me as my dog and nobody seemed to care.

– Richard Huckle bragged this according to one charge

The children were identified in 91 charges, but it is believed that the 30-year-old abused up to 200 young victims.

Huckle, from Ashford, Kent, took in the families of his victims by posing as an English teacher doing good works abroad.

Opening the facts of the case prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC told how Huckle targeted and groomed deprived children impressing them with his "relative wealth and status as a Westerner" and exploited their poverty.

Huckle - who describes himself as a practicing Christian - first visited Malaysia on a teaching gap year when he was 18 or 19 and went on to groom children while doing voluntary work between 2006 and 2014.

Impoverished kids are definitely much easier to seduce than middle class Western kids.

– Richard Huckle

Arriving home for Christmas in December 2014, Huckle was arrested at Gatwick Airport by National Crime Agency (NCA) officials.

Inside Gatwick Airport Credit: PA

They uncovered more than 20,000 indecent images on his computer, including numerous indecent pictures and videos Huckle took of himself abusing children.

Also on Huckle's laptop was a paedophile manual - Paedophiles And Poverty: Child Lover Guide - he had written, which was ready for publication on the dark web. In it he offered tips on how to identify victims and avoid detection, the court heard.

Credit: PA

If you really want to fully embrace child love poverty is the way to go.

– Richard Huckle

Investigators also found his "Pedopoints ledger" in which he detailed rapes and various sex acts of the children he abused. Under the rules of his sick game, he could not score points for the same indecent activity for the same child in the same week.

His points system was split up into 15 categories of depravity, ranging from "basic" to "hardcore".

Huckle had written about these "pedopoints" on The Love Zone (TLZ), a members only paedophile site. The site has since been closed down.

Richard Huckle gets his A Level results aged 18 Credit: SWNS

Huckle was also accused of attempting to crowd-fund his online abuse using Bitcoin on a website called PedoFunding.

He allegedly forced a three-year-old girl to lie naked with him on a bed holding a handwritten advert, the court heard. On the site, footage is released once the target is reached. Huckle made 105% of his sick target and thanked those who had contributed.

The earliest recorded abuse dated back to when Huckle was just 19 and involved a two-year-old child in Cambodia, although the rest of his victims were in Malaysia.

Some of them were abused over many years and even groomed to abuse each other and bow to his sexual demands.

Frequently the abuse included taking photographs of those children, editing them to achieve anonymity and uploading still and moving images and graphic details of his exploits to the paedophile network TLZ on the hidden internet also known as the 'dark web'.

Those images of child abuse will inevitably have been shared with other paedophiles and therefore been the subject of uncontrolled worldwide distribution.

– Prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC

Over 18 months Huckle boasted about what he was doing in hundreds of posts on the dark web, and described paedophiles as an unfairly repressed minority.

In January, Huckle pleaded not guilty to all 91 charges but ahead of his trial in April, he gradually admitted 71 of the offences over the course of five more hearings. At his first plea hearing at the Old Bailey, it took more than an hour to read out all the charges.

You have pleaded guilty to 71 counts. As you know these amount to sexual offending of the utmost gravity and as a result I am considering life sentences in your case.

I am also considering the minimum sentence you must serve. In any event you must expect a very long sentence in this case given that it comes into the category of cases of exceptional gravity. As everyone in this court will know, there is no distinction made between victims here or victims overseas. The cases are regarded as the utmost gravity in both cases.

– Judge Peter Rook QC at an earlier hearing

Twenty two of the offences he pleaded guilty to carry discetionary life sentences and 18 of these are multiple incident counts.

Some 14 of the charges were for rape, five digital penetration, 31 sexual assaults, six grooming offences so children were exposing or touching themselves or other children sexually; 12 counts were for taking very many photographs, one count was for making photographs and one of advertising indecent photographs plus one of arranging or facilitating child sex offences relating to the manual.

The admitted abuse includes almost every conceivable aggravating feature. Accordingly having considered the pleas offered, tendered and now entered by this defendant, the Crown is of the view they are an adequate reflection of his criminality and the offences to which he has pleaded guilty inform the court sufficiently for sentencing.

The public interest does not require a trial on the outstanding counts on the indictment and in due course the conclusion of the sentencing process we will invite the court that the outstanding 20 counts lie on the file.

– Prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC

Details of the abuse can only be reported today because investigators had sought a court order allowing time to make sure the victims were safe from other sexual predators stalking the web.

Sentencing began on Wednesday and is expected to conclude on Friday.