The jail term of an online predator who targeted thousands of children and tricked at least 500 boys into sending him sexual videos and images of themselves has been increased by the Court of Appeal.
In February labourer David Wilson, 37, was sentenced to 25 years in jail after he admitted 96 sex offences against 52 boys aged from just four to 14 between May 2016 and April 2020.
Wilson approached more than 5,000 boys worldwide by pretending to be multiple teenage girls – principally on 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 (CSA) offenders the National Crime Agency has ever investigated.
Wilson, of Norfolk, 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.
Today, at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Holroyde ruled that Wilson should not have been given a full one third credit for his guilty pleas as no indications were made in the magistrates' court that he would plead guilty.
The court concluded Wilson's sentence should be increased to 28 years.
Wilson was originally sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court by Judge Rupert Overbury who 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."
Using unregistered phones, Wilson scoured social media sites for vulnerable victims.
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.
On some occasions Wilson then distributed the images to victims’ friends.
Tony Cook, NCA Head of CSA operations, said previously: “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.
“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.”
27 May 2021