One of Britain’s worst paedophiles, who shared horrific images on the dark web as he abused up to 200 Malaysian children, has been handed 22 life sentences.
Freelance photographer Richard Huckle, 30, admitted an unprecedented number of offences against children aged between six months and 12 years.
Judge Peter Rook QC ordered that he serve a minimum of 25 years in jail to reflect the “public abhorrence” over his “campaign of rape” spanning nine years.
A stream of pictures and videos of his rapes and assaults on children were shared with paedophiles worldwide through the now defunct dark website TLZ – The Love Zone.
He even tried to make a business out of his horrific crimes by crowd-funding the release of the images and was compiling a paedophile’s manual at the time of his arrest by the National Crime Agency.
Twenty-three children from poor Christian communities in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur were identified in 71 charges, although Huckle’s tally of abuse which he catalogued on a “Pedopoints ledger” was much higher.
The defendant, from Ashford in Kent, stood with his hands together as if in prayer as he was sentenced at the Old Bailey.
The judge told him his “self-delusion knows no bounds” and the 60-page paedophile manual he had written was a “truly evil document”.
He said: “You were and are sexually obsessed with children.
“You have spent years abusing them. In one of your postings you stated that you had become consumed by your paedophilia.”
In light of Huckle’s refusal to hand over encrypted passwords to hidden files on his computer, the judge added: “In my view, you may well harbour feelings of regret but there is no feeling of genuine remorse in this case.”
Huckle first visited Malaysia on a teaching gap year when he was 19 and went on to groom more children posing as a respectable Christian English teacher and philanthropist.
Five of the youngsters were living in a children’s home and on one occasion he took a girl out to celebrate her fifth birthday and molested her at his house in Kuala Lumpur.
The defendant, who studied IT at university in Malaysia, was arrested by National Crime Agency officials as he arrived at Gatwick Airport en route to spend Christmas with his family in 2014.
Officers seized Huckle’s encrypted laptop and managed to uncover more than 20,000 indecent pictures and videos although there were other files they were unable to crack.