LONDON (Reuters) - A British man on Monday admitted almost 100 sexual offences against boys as young as four, with police suspecting he might have approached more than 5,000 children around the world to lure them into sending explicit photos of themselves.
Labourer David Wilson, 36, pretended to be multiple teenage girls on Facebook and other social media to contact victims in Britain, the United States and Australia, Britain's National Crime Agency said.
He sent sexual images of young women that he had found online in exchange for the boys sending him videos and images of themselves. Once he had built up their trust, he blackmailed them into sending him more extreme footage of themselves – and in some cases of them abusing younger siblings or friends.
Appearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, he admitted 96 offences against 51 boys, aged from four to 14. The NCA said there was evidence that as many as 500 victims had sent him images, and that he had contacted 5,000 children worldwide.
"He knew the anguish victims were suffering but ignored any pleas from them to stop until he got what he wanted from them," Tony Cook from the NCA said.
Police said Wilson's activities came to light in 2017 when Facebook identified 20 accounts of boys, aged from 12 to 15, who had sent indecent images of themselves to an account seemingly belonging to a 13-year-old girl.
Those details were passed to the NCA by the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). In total, the NCMEC handed over 90 referrals from Facebook.
Wilson will be sentenced on Jan. 12.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Kevin Liffey)