A 28-year-old Cambridge University graduate pleaded guilty to more than 130 charges of distributing child abuse content on the darknet, sexual exploitation, and even encouraging the rape of a four-year-old. He frequently manipulated victims by posing as a female artist and convincing victims to send compromising images of themselves. After receiving the images, the UK’s NCA explained, he gathered information on his victims and blackmailed them into sending humiliating videos that he uploaded to darknet “hurt core” forums.
Dr. Matthew Falder, a former post-doctoral researcher for the University of Birmingham, targeted more than 50 victims. He directly exploited victims in their teenage years, along with some in their twenties and thirties. His crimes affected more than those 50 though, including a four-year-old who had been raped after Falder convinced her rapist to go through with the act. He wanted the videos and pictures to share on the darknet forums where he uploaded his abusive and illegal content.
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A National Crime Agency investigator said that he had never seen “such horrifying” crime where the criminal’s only desire was humiliating his victims. Under the handles “666devil” and “evilmind,” Falder uploaded pictures and videos of children being tortured; videos of young women degrading themselves in “sadistic” manners; and many other forms of content that led to the 137 charges Falder pleaded guilty to at Birmingham Crown Court.
He pleaded guilty to 137 charges. Those included causing the sexual exploitation of a child, producing indecent images of children, distributing indecent images, and encouraging the rape of a four-year-old. He also placed cameras in the showers of people he knew in real life, uploading the results and humiliating the victims in discussion threads on the darknet.
On Gumtree, Falder posed as a female artist who often manipulated vulnerable victims into sending naked or otherwise compromising pictures of themselves to help with “her” with nude artwork. Once Falder successfully doxed these (frequently young) women, he threatened to send the pictures to their families and all of their neighbors. He then ordered the victims to perform increasingly humiliating tasks while videoing themselves so that he could could upload the videos to darknet forums he frequented.
Falder, while living with his (soon to be former?) girlfriend, targeted and exploited his victims for at least eight years. In June 2017, thanks to a two-year NCA and GCHQ investigation, police finally caught up with the man and arrested him at Birmingham University (Their statement). During those eight years, although no victims had reportedly died, many attempted suicide or hurt themselves. Even the man’s family said their lives had been turned upside down in the wake of Falder’s arrest.
The court remanded him into custody until December. His hearing has been scheduled for December 7 and if all goes according to the prosecutor’s plan, Falder could (at maximum) spend life in prison.