A former geophysicist researcher at the University of Birmingham has today been jailed for 32 years after admitting 137 ‘hurt core’ related charges at Birmingham Crown Court.

Depraved 29 year old Dr Matthew Falder, from Edgbaston – who called himself ‘evilmind’ and ‘666devil’ during years of heinous and cruel online offending – admitted a vast number of counts, including encouraging the rape of a four-year-old boy.

Sentencing

• A 32 year prison sentence with an extended period of six years on licence.
• Sexual Harm Prevention Order
• Placed on the sex offenders’ register

Falder approached more than 300 people around the world, with 45 victims represented on the court indictment against him. He targeted and manipulated vulnerable victims – from young teenagers to adults – into sending him naked or partially clothed images of themselves.

The malevolent predator used Gumtree to masquerade as a depressed female artist who was offering money for artistically posed photographs – blackmailing victims into sending him increasingly sickening images.

“Internet Highwayman”

Falder, who was described by Judge Philip Parker QC as an “internet highwayman”, traded the images on ‘hurt core’ forums on the ‘dark web’. The sites are dedicated to discussion and sharing of images and videos relating to rape, murder, sadism, torture, paedophilia, blackmail, humiliation and degradation.

Judge Philip Parker QC also said: “Time and again people begged you to stop. Time and again you ramped up the pressure.”

The Cambridge graduate who had installed hidden cameras at a variety of locations to secretly film adults he knew were showering, used a photo of a young girl as his avatar. He claimed the girl in the photo was his daughter and said he was going to torture her – requesting ideas from other forum members about what he could do to hurt and abuse her.

Matt Sutton, NCA (National Crime Agency) senior investigating officer, said: “In more than 30 years of law enforcement I’ve never come across an offender whose sole motivation was to inflict such profound anguish and pain. Matthew Falder revelled in it.

Adding: “I commend the victims for their bravery and I urge anyone who is being abused online to report it. There is help available.”

Ruona Iguyovwe, from the Crown Prosecution Service’s International Justice and Organised Crime Division, said: “The CPS worked with the National Crime Agency and international partners from an early stage in order to gather compelling evidence against Falder, resulting in his guilty pleas.”

Advice from NCA

Advice for children and young people

If you have been pressured into sending sexual images or videos online and you have been threatened as a result, this is blackmail and you are not to blame. Remove yourself from the conversation, do not respond further and speak to an adult you trust.

You can also report to CEOP who can offer you advice and support – www.ceop.police.uk.

For further online safety advice visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk, and for confidential support call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

Advice for adult victims of blackmail

Report to your local police force, who will deal with your report in confidence and will not judge you;

Don’t communicate further with the offender, if you can take screenshots, suspend your account (but don’t delete it) and also make use of any online reporting options via the platform the communication took place.

If possible make a note of all the details provided by the offender and do not delete any correspondence.

If you are concerned about your safety online please visit www.getsafeonline.org or call the Samaritans on 116 123 for confidential support.

Additional support services

Child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation also runs the Stop It Now! helpline – 0808 1000 900 – which offers confidential advice to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s behaviour towards children. www.lucyfaithfull.org.uk.

Papyrus provide confidential advice and support and works to prevent young suicide in the UK. Call 0800 068 4141

Image: Birmingham Crown Court WMP

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