Huckle pleaded guilty to 71 charges of sexual offences against 23 children aged between six months and 13 years from an impoverished Christian community in Kuala Lumpur.
Court takes over an hour to read out list of charges against Huckle
LONDON: Britain’s worst paedophile who attacked hundreds of children in South-East Asia and used the dark web to crowd-fund his abuse is facing 22 life sentences.
Huckle, 30, targeted a poverty-stricken Christian community in Malaysia, where he posed as a photographer and English teacher to win the trust of his victims’ parents.
The man from Kent took pictures and videos of himself raping and abusing young children and even a baby wearing a nappy.
Huckle bragged of the attacks in online blogs and penned a sick 60-page “handbook” titled Paedophiles & Poverty: Child Lover Guide.”
During his nine years of offending, he forced victims to pose with horrific slogans advertising his foul images, which he sold for Bitcoins on a notorious paedophile website on the dark web – the encrypted version of the internet.
As part of an international network, Huckle awarded himself “PedoPoints” for carrying out the attacks and used a paedophile crowdfunding website to finance the abuse. Between November 2013 and November 2014, he had a “score” of 1,305.
The case could only be reported now after Judge Peter Rook QC lifted reporting restrictions at the start of a three-day sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey.
It took more than an hour for the charges to be put to Huckle at an earlier hearing, in what is believed to be the worst case of its kind.
He appeared in the dock yesterday wearing a black shirt, with his long hair tied back into a ponytail and sporting a goatee beard.
The paedophile sat with his head in his hands in the dock as the court heard how he set up a website to crowdfund his sickening acts.
The charges relate to the horrific sexual abuse of 23 girls and boys aged between six months and 12 years. Some 22 victims are from Malaysia while one is Cambodian.
Huckle started abusing children after spending his gap year teaching in Malaysia in 2005.
He later returned to the region and spent years carrying out some of the most horrific abuse investigators have ever seen.
He took indecent images of a three-year-old child while staying with a Cambodian family the following year.
He then returned to Malaysia where he abused and took photographs of two sisters, aged four and six.
In 2007 he came back to stay with their family and he took up a teaching post in their village and continued to abuse the girls until his arrest.
Huckle gained the trust of a poor Christian community in Kuala Lumpur through his English tuition where he was able to use his perceived status as a rich westerner to “groom” victims and their families with impunity.
Huckle even boasted that he’d “hit the jackpot” by grooming a three-year-old girl to be “as loyal to me as my dog”.
In another sickening posting, he said it was amazing that he had stuck with the same child lover for so many years and watch her body develop from a five year old to a 12-year-old.
On the dark web, Huckle documented every step of his child abuse and hoped to make paedophilia a paying profession.
He turned to online paedophiles to crowdfund the abuse, allowing those who paid him in Bitcoins access to videos of him raping his victims.
Huckle wrote: “Impoverished kids are definitely much, much easier to seduce than middle class Western kids. I still plan on publishing a guide on the subject sometime.”
He added: ‘Would love to make a small income off selling child porn.’
Huckle was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Dec 19, 2014 when he returned to the country to visit his family for Christmas.
Police found 20,253 indecent images of children on his laptop and hard drives, many of them showing Huckle abusing children. – The Daily Mail.
Huckle’s journey of depravity
Paedophile travelled widely in Malaysia, photographing kids every step of the way
PETALING JAYA: Paedophile Richard Huckle had a penchant for photos of young children. He would not only photograph them but would also visit photography community website Trek Earth and post comments there.
Huckle, 30, went by the moniker “huckool” and his comments were mostly on pictures of young children from Malaysia, Cambodia, India, and Japan.
According to Trek Earth, its members provide photographs and useful critiques for each other and the entire Internet community.
On a picture of a boy fully clothed and another clad in an oversized shirt which covered his private parts, Huckle said in June 2005: “I did wonder about his ‘private parts’ until I read the caption, though I (personally) feel there’s little offence in natural nudity.”
On a picture of a young Indian girl half-clad in a saree, Huckle said: “This is a nice photo of someone so special to you. I have a close relationship with some kids in Malaysia, I miss them very much. Have fun with her.”
Checks by The Star showed that the last time he critiqued a photo was in August 2006 and his page was viewed 5,962 times.
Huckle also posted pictures from many Malaysian states on his account.
A quick glance shows albums of photos at the Petronas Twin Tower, the Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Langkawi and Negri Sembilan, among other places.
He took pictures of children frolicking on the beach, titling the picture as “Perlis”.
Huckle seemed to frequent children-centric places. In a shot of an indoor roller coaster, a young girl’s silhouette can be seen, while another titled “Muslim Dance” showed a stage full of school-goers.
Similarly, another picture of a classroom with Malaysian flags showed young children in primary school uniforms.
He also enjoyed photographing children from the Sunday school where he taught, with one picture showing a smiling group posing with the peace sign.
In the Travelogue section of his account, Huckle wrote: “I spent most of my time in Malaysia on my travels, living with the Indian Christian community in Kuala Lumpur. I also took trips to Port Dickson (Malaysia), Brunei, Singapore and Cambodia, meeting and making many friends along the way.” – The Star
The devil that hid in the church
PETALING JAYA: He was a monster who posed as a good, religious person.
Middle-class British boy Richard Huckle was baptised at the age of 17, visited churches, helped out at Sunday schools and was an average student when he left school.
But it was in church that he gave release to his vile side.
SkyNews said Huckle spent three months on a placement at a church in Kuala Lumpur and returned regularly to Malaysia, offering to help teach at schools and churches.
He even started to groom children while doing voluntary work in Kuala Lumpur. All the while, he was also abusing the children in the church.
In 2008, Huckle took a short English teacher training course at the British Council’s offices in Kuala Lumpur. He also appeared in a promotional video.
Huckle, 30, has admitted to a string of paedophile offences, ranging from raping babies and toddlers to girls and boys, from 2006 to 2014. His victims were aged between six months and 12 years.
SkyNews said Huckle “is one of the most prolific paedophiles ever to have been brought before a UK court”.
It was reported that Huckle filmed and photographed much of the abuse. He even shared it with other paedophiles on the Internet.
He also posted commentaries to accompany the images.
“It’s quite amazing to have stuck with the same child lover for so many years and I hope, from the images you have seen, enjoyed watching her grow.
“It’s not often in child porn you can compare the bodies of a 5yo and a 12yo that are the same girl. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more sex with (her) in the future,” Huckle wrote.
Over 20,000 indecent photographs were found on his computer when he was caught at London’s Gatwick Airport in 2014 as he came home to Britain from Malaysia for Christmas.
His arrest came after Australian authorities alerted Britain’s National Crime Agency to his crimes.
It was reported that Huckle wrote a paedophile manual called “Paedophiles And Poverty: Child Lover Guide” and also kept a series of notes in which he detailed rapes and other sex acts.
The encrypted manual was on Huckle’s laptop, ready for publication on the “dark web”.
At his first plea hearing at the Central Criminal Court of England, it took more than an hour to read out all the charges.
In January, Huckle pleaded not guilty to all 91 charges. But ahead of his trial in April, he admitted to 71 of the offences over the course of five more hearings.
According to one charge, Huckle had bragged: “I’d hit the jackpot, a 3yo girl as loyal to me as my dog and nobody seemed to care.”
He faces 22 life sentences. His sentencing will be done today.
PETALING JAYA: Huckle seemed like a “normal human being”, said a Kuala Lumpur church pastor.
The pastor, who only wanted to be known as Paul, said Huckle started visiting his church in 2011 but was an infrequent churchgoer.
“He came to the church off and on. Maybe only around five or six times,” said Paul.
When asked how Huckle was like, Paul described him as a “normal human being”.
“He would sometimes take pictures, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary,” he said.
“Sometimes when we saw things we did not like or behaviour that we did not like, we would scold him. But I can’t go into specifics.”
However, he said none of the children in the church were harmed by Huckle.
Paul said that when news broke about Huckle, he was shocked and “felt really rotten about the whole thing”.
“I will still pray for him. But that doesn’t negate his errors,” he said.
Huckle is said to have spent six years at another church in Kuala Lumpur. He taught in Sunday school, attended services and took many photographs of children.
A priest in the church said: “He hardly spent any time here (in the church). Very short period. He was in Malaysia for some years but he was hardly here (in the church).”
Huckle’s school friend, Scott Chapman, was shocked to learn that the “loner” he had known could “change so quickly”.
“He never seemed off or anything like that. He just seemed like a normal person. Just like a very, very quiet person. Didn’t really talk about hormonal things like that,” said Chapman.
Huckle’s parents sold their house and moved away as soon as they found out about Huckle’s crime.
Meanwhile, his older brother refused to speak about it to SkyNews.
“None of his family will speak about him. None of us ever want to see Richard again,” Huckle’s sisterin-law told SkyNews.
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The ones we trust are the ones who betray us
PETALING JAYA: Paedophiles are usually trusted individuals such as teachers or spiritual leaders.
Consultant psychiatrist and a member of the Health Ministry’s mental health promotion council Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj Chandrasekaran said Malaysians were a trusting people.
“We assume adults who become close to children show genuine affection. It is in our culture to promote physical closeness between adults and children,” he said.
Dr Mohanraj added that paedophiles are individuals who have failed to complete the normal sexual development process.
“Paedophiles tend to dominate or control their victims to compensate for their powerlessness during their childhood.
“Sharing their exploits online is a way to get fulfilment in a twisted way – by demonstrating their power and control over their victims, and getting admiration from like-minded individuals,” he said.
Dr Mohanraj said some signs of sexual abuse parents can look out for in their children are signs of physical pain or discomfort, emotional changes like temper tantrums, becoming withdrawn or very clingy, changes in eating habits, self-harm or unexplained personality changes.
“Children can also start acting out in sexual ways because they feel it is normal behaviour, but these are actions they learnt from the abuser.
“Bed wetting, nightmares or sleeping problems are also signs that something is wrong. If parents notice several of these signs in their child, they should talk to the child or seek help,” said Dr Mohanraj.
Criminologist and psychologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat said paedophiles were mostly men and that most sexual child abuse cases involved men known to the child.
“A trend analysis of the past decade in Malaysia indicates that more than 60% of such crimes were perpetuated by the child’s father, followed by the uncle and stepfather.
“In many cases, other relatives are also victims or know of the crime, especially the mother,” she said.
She also said it was more common to find a child who was sexually abused three or four times before a report was made.
“This type of abuse by a male relative makes a child believe sexual intimacy with male family members is how men express their parental or family love to a child,” she said. The Star
‘He started with nude pix’
Child victim recalls abuse began when she was just four
PETALING JAYA: Shy, quiet and completely withdrawn – that was Maria (not her real name), a victim of convicted British paedophile Richard Huckle when journalist Mahi Ramakrishnan first met her.
“She did warm up a bit to us, when we made it very clear that she was safe and that she could stop the interview at any time,” said Mahi.
“But when she recounted the abuse she suffered, she seemed completely numb.”
As the BBC’s local contact, Mahi received a brief from journalist Angus Crawford in late January – the channel was doing an investigative piece on Huckle, 30, who was on trial in Britain for sexually abusing children in Malaysia.
Posing as an English and Sunday School teacher, he had targeted the children of a poor community in Kuala Lumpur.
Mahi and Crawford finally traced some of the victims, and managed to convince 14-year-old Maria to share her harrowing story.
“Maria lives in a shelter. She told us that the abuse began when she was four,” said Mahi.
On the video, Maria recounts how her grandmother told her to be careful with Huckle, but as a child she did not understand the caution – until he began taking nude photos of her and her younger sister.
“There was more, but she made us agree not to share any more than that. We did find other children whom we believe were abused – one admitted that it had happened, but would not say any more,” she said.
Mahi made sure that during all her meetings with Maria, a female counsellor was present.
“After the interviews, we didn’t just want to be journalists who got the story and then left, so Angus said he would sponsor the first 10 sessions of counselling for her.
“But it is taking a lot of work to convince the caregivers and families of the victims that counselling is necessary. Mostly, they just want to forget that it happened,” she said. Mahi isn’t giving up. She will continue trying to get the kids and families on board with counselling. The journalist and filmmaker isn’t the type that shies away from ugliness.
For her documentary on child prostitution, Mahi spent time in brothels in the city.
She has written on baby trafficking and militants. But the mother of two called this “one of her most difficult stories”.
“Something needs to be done to address paedophilia in Malaysia,” said Mahi.
“I don’t condone what Huckle did, and he deserves his punishment, but who knows if he was also a victim of abuse, and how can we stop it if we don’t look at all these questions?
“Malaysia has no specific law on paedophilia. We need a sex offenders registry too.”
– The Star