A serial child sex abuser has been jailed for 25 years by Ipswich Crown Court after being convicted of offenses against dozens of children, investigators claiming he was targeting thousands.
, posed online as a young girl, targeting young boys to send sexual images of themselves. The victims were between four and 14 years old.
As the grooming turned into abuse, some were threatened with blackmail if they didn’t do what Wilson demanded. Some were so terrified that they abused young children and recorded the attacks. Some then tried to kill themselves.
Most of Wilson’s offenses were committed while he was out on bail as law enforcement tried to get evidence that a court would agree to convict him.
Last November, Wilson pleaded guilty in Ipswich Crown Court to 96 offenses against 52 children. The National Crime Agency said 500 children sent pictures of Wilson over a four-year period and 5,000 were targeted.
Wilson used payphones, which don’t need to be registered, and hid behind fake identities online. Detectives had to prove Wilson was the person logged in to the phones and fake IDs. It took three years to bring the former roofer to justice. At one point, Wilson threw a phone down the toilet when the police came to arrest him.
It was first detected by security systems owned by Facebook, the platform he mainly used to find victims.
Tony Cook of the National Crime Agency said: “He showed very little compassion even when the victims begged him to stop. He built confidence and then blackmailed them.
“David Wilson absolutely devastated not only his victims, but also the families to which they belong. He has caused heartbreaking suffering and enormous disruption in the lives of those he targeted because of the problems caused by his abuse. Wilson was addressing their vulnerability. They really thought they were talking to a teenage girl who cared about them.
“He has prepared, intimidated and blackmailed young boys into sending him indecent pictures and in some cases indulging in horrific abuse on themselves and others. Although he knew their absolute anguish and desperation, he ignored their calls to stop. He retained indecent material and threatened to share it with the friends of the victims so that he could maintain control.
The offenses, involving victims in the UK, US and Australia, occurred between May 2016 and April 2020.
Wilson was first arrested in August 2017 after being reported by Facebook, but was released on bail as the investigation continued.
Police believe Facebook’s plans to switch to end-to-end encryption could mean offenders as prolific as Wilson could get away with their crimes.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The tireless efforts of the NCA have put a truly horrific criminal behind bars, delivering justice to those who have suffered and protecting hundreds of potential victims.
“This sickening case is a chilling reminder of how crucial it is for tech companies to play their part in the fight against child sexual abuse. It is essential that Facebook does not move forward without changing its current end-to-end encryption plans, otherwise sick criminals like David Wilson could still abuse children with impunity.