Richard Huckle, a 30-year-old Briton described as the U.K.’s worst pedophile, was on Monday handed down 22 life sentences with a minimum term of 25 years by a London court. Huckle, who is believed to have sexually abused up to 200 children — most of them in Malaysia — had earlier admitted an “unprecedented and exceptional” 71 serious offenses, including 14 rapes and 31 sexual assaults.
“You have pleaded guilty to as many as 71 sexual offences. It is very rare indeed that a judge has to sentence sexual offending by one person on such a scale as this,” Judge Peter Rook, reportedly said while sentencing Huckle. “In my view, you may well harbor feelings of regret but there is no feeling of genuine remorse in this case.”
Huckle, a photographer, first visited Kuala Lumpur in 2005. He posed as an English teacher to gain access to children in orphanages and shelters. Between 2005 and 2010, Huckle visited Malaysia eight times, before moving to the country permanently in 2010, when he enrolled at the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University.
In 2006, he spent two weeks in Cambodia, where he took indecent images of a child aged around three.
“Richard Huckle spent several years integrating himself into the community in which he lived, making himself a trusted figure. But he abused that trust in the worst possible way,” James Traynor from the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA), said in a statement released Monday. “ He deliberately travelled to a part of the world where he thought he could abuse vulnerable children without being caught.”
Huckle was arrested at London’s Gatwick airport in December 2014 when he came home for Christmas. British laws allow people who have committed crimes against children to be prosecuted in the U.K.
When he was arrested, Huckle not only had over 20,000 indecent images and videos of his assault on children in his possession — many of which he shared through a website on the so-called dark web — he also tried to crowd-fund the release of these images online and was even creating a manual to assist pedophiles commit crimes without being caught.
“He had a very specific interest in more Indian-looking children and was a prolific producer,” Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, who headed a Queensland police taskforce that identified and provided information about Huckle to the NCA, told ABC news. “We analyzed the material to the point of seeing contact offending taking place and getting an idea of where it was taking place.”
Although 23 of Huckle’s victims have so far been identified by authorities in Malaysia, a “pedopoints ledger” he compiled suggests that the real number is much higher.