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Depraved online predator who used blackmail to trap victims jailed for 24 years | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing


‘The control he sought over them, some of whom were young children, was sinister, manipulative and heartless’

Anthony ‘Danny’ Burns (39) was described as a “pupil” of the notorious online child sex offender Abdul Elahi, who was jailed for 32 years in December 2021 after targeting around 2,000 victims around the world and forcing them to commit sex offences.

Burns is considered one of the most dangerous predators ever investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) who said he was a “revolting sexual offender”.

An NCA investigation revealed how Burns used ‘sugar daddy’ websites to trap his victims, including one, seven-year-old girl in the US, who was abused by her mother following sustained coercion by Burns.

It total, Burns attempted to contact approximately 600 people around the world with the intention of sexually exploiting them between May 2018 and March 2021.

He had learned the black art of psychology of blackmail, including techniques such as scripted wording to help gain the trust of victims by his tutor Elahi who provided instruction on how they would respond to threats and what to say to them.

Notorious online child sex offender Abdul Elahi

Burns, originally from Lowestoft, used multiple online personas including posing as the head of a model agency searching for clients, to ensnare his victims.

He even pretended to be an NCA officer on one occasion.

After gaining the trust of his victims, he moved them to WhatsApp which is protected by end to end encryption. He was able to delete read messages from his and his victims’ phones, thereby removing visible evidence.

His victims were ordered to film themselves carrying out sexual acts in the belief they would be paid £600.

But the money was never transferred to them and when he had received enough explicit material, Burns threatened to expose the pictures to the victims’ families and friends unless they sent more increasingly depraved photographs and videos.

The nature of the demands became more severe and degrading at the point that Burns had entrapped the victims through the threat of exposure.

However, NCA officers arrested Burns in February 2019 when his mobile phone and computers were seized and forensically examined.

Incriminating evidence uncovered by NCA investigators from Burns’ phone highlighted the scale and propensity of his offending, and that he was blackmailing several victims simultaneously.

NCA Operations Manager Robert Slater said Anthony Burns was “a revolting sexual offender”.

“My first thoughts go out to his victims, many of whom showed immense courage by providing vital evidence to secure his conviction, Slater said.

“The control he sought over them, some of whom were young children, was sinister, manipulative and heartless.

“Cases like these harden the NCA’s determination to pursue the highest harm sexual offenders, including those who use technology nefariously in an attempt to hide their activities, and make them accountable for their disgusting crimes.

“Anyone being pressured or threatened into sending sexual images or videos online, should try to remove themselves immediately from the conversation, not respond further to any contact, and report the matter to police.

“You are not alone, you are not to blame and help is always available.”

While many of Burns’ victims lived in England but there were also people in the Channel Islands and Australia, while the FBI aided the NCA’s investigation and helped locate victims in the United States.

The NCA also liaised with New Zealand authorities to recover all of the abuse material Burns had saved separately from his devices on a cloud storage platform. This proved he had retained the depraved material he demanded from his victims.

It was the analysis of this material which led to NCA investigators identifying the child and mother in the US. The child has since been safeguarded and the mother has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Burns was charged with 46 counts including blackmail, attempted blackmail, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, arranging the commission of a child sex offence; making and distributing indecent images of children (IIOC), possessing extreme pornography, malicious communications offences and failure to comply with notification requirements.

following a two-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court, he admitted 41 counts and was found guilty of a further two on 30 August last year, The remaining charges will lie on file.

He was sentenced to 24 years in prison with a further five on licence at the same court yesterday. He will also be subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and has been placed on the sex offenders register for life.

All 35 of Burns’ victims on the indictment, aged between seven and 54, have been safeguarded.

Bethany Raine, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS, said Burns had an obsessive interest in controlling women and children into performing increasingly degrading sexual acts online for his own gratification.

“Burns belittled and humiliated women,” Raine said. “They became trapped in a web of fear where their own images became tools of manipulation and extortion, leaving them vulnerable to his depraved demands.

“His conviction sends a clear message that the CPS is committed in bringing offenders like Burns, who sexually abuse and exploit victims, to justice, wherever that abuse takes place.”

Advice for children, young people, and adults who have been coerced to send nude images and blackmailed online, as well as the numerous support services available can be found here.



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