November 2020

Man admits 96 child abuse charges against 51 boys after pretending to be teen girl

A labourer who pretended to be teenage girls online has admitted 96 sexual abuse offences against 51 boys aged four to 14.

David Nicholas Wilson, 36 of King’s Lynn, Norfolk created and used a series of fake identities to contact the victims on Facebook and other social media.

He is one of the most prolific child sexual abuse offenders the National Crime Agency has ever investigated.

It took a court clerk around 30 minutes to read all of the charges out to the 36-year-old and for him to enter guilty pleas to each in turn.

The offences included causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act, and arranging or facilitating the sexual exploitation of a child.

Wilson also admitted making unwarranted demands for indecent images of a child with menace, threatening to post an indecent image on social media if they did not comply.

Using unregistered phones, he sent sexual images of young females 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.

On some occasions he then distributed the images to victims’ friends.

He showed no compassion even when some victims begged him to stop.

Such was the level of suffering Wilson inflicted several children on the indictment spoke of wanting to end their lives.

The offences were committed between May 2016 and April 2020.

At Ipswich Crown Court, Judge Rupert Overbury adjourned the case for sentencing on Tuesday, January 12 to allow time for the Probation Service to prepare a report “to deal with dangerousness”.

He told Wilson: “You have been advised that you may receive an extended sentence.

“I would think that’s highly likely but I will listen to everything put before me very carefully.

“I won’t pre-judge anything at all.”

Wilson was remanded in custody, with details of the prosecution case to be opened at the sentencing hearing.

A National Crime Agency investigation unearthed evidence of as many as 500 victims sending him images – and of Wilson contacting at least 5,000 children in the UK and abroad.

In June and July 2017, Facebook identified 20 accounts of boys ranging from 12 to 15 years old, who had sent indecent images of themselves to an account seemingly belonging to a 13-year-old girl.

The material was forwarded to the NCA for investigation by NCMEC – the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – which receives industry referrals before disseminating them to law enforcement agencies to investigate.

The NCA uncovered key evidence against Wilson:

  • IP addresses used to commit the offences resolved to his house;

  • CCTV footage of him buying a top-up voucher for a phone number linked to one of the fake Facebook accounts;

  • When he was arrested in August 2017 the phone used to commit some of the offences was hidden in his bedroom.

He was released on bail for the investigation to continue.

The NCA uncovered a web of false social media identities he used to commit offences.

NCA investigators used huge amounts of communication data to link the offending profiles and ultimately prove Wilson was responsible.

Between November 2017 and January 2018 NCMEC made dozens more referrals. In all, Facebook material made up 90 referrals from NCMEC to the NCA.

In order to obtain the evidence from relevant Facebook, Snapchat, Google and Instagram accounts, an International Letter of Request (ILOR) was prepared and submitted to US authorities via the Crown Prosecution Service.

This was an extremely involved legal process that took close to two years to complete.

The NCA received the relevant evidential material in October 2019.

It contained more than 250,000 messages to analyse and the scale of Wilson’s offending became clear with victims across the UK and in America and Australia.

In April this year Wilson was charged with three counts and remanded. In August while in prison he was charged with the remaining counts.

David Wilson is a prolific offender who has caused heartbreaking suffering to some of the boys and their families in this case.

He was able to gain the boys’ trust and exploit their use of social media using well practiced techniques to convince them he was genuinely a young female who was interested in them.

He then manipulated or forced them to send images of themselves or other children which he craved.

He knew the anguish victims were suffering but ignored any pleas from them to stop until he got what he wanted from them.