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Lowestoft: Anthony Burns found guilty of urging woman to sexually abuse child | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

  • By Rachael McMenemy & PA Media
  • BBC News, Suffolk

Image source, NAitonal Crime AGency

Image caption,

The prosecution said Anthony Burns was a “controlling and manipulative sexual predator”

A man has been found guilty of encouraged a woman he met on a dating site to sexually abuse a child.

Anthony Burns, 39, formerly of Lowestoft, Suffolk, was found guilty of two counts of causing a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Burns had previously admitted 39 counts, including blackmail and making indecent images.

Judge Sarah Buckingham said he would be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court in January.

Warning: Sensitive content you may find upsetting

Burns, who was also known as Danny, followed a “pattern” of engaging with women online, usually via “sugar daddy websites” or online dating sites, the court previously heard.

In one case in August 2020, he directed a woman in the US to perform sexual acts on herself and then abuse a young girl.

Prosecutors said Burns had directed the woman, who has been jailed for her part in the abuse, to carry out the acts.

Following the verdicts, the judge told jurors that Burns had directed and controlled 27 women from all over the world in acts of online sexual behaviour between 2018 and 2020.

He would use different identities and phone numbers as well as fake profile photos.

Image caption,

The abuse of a child was at the “clear direction” of Anthony Burns, the prosecution told jurors at Birmingham Crown Court

Occasionally he would pose as a modelling agent and, after making contact with the women, would move their conversation to WhatsApp before asking them to send sexual photographs or videos in exchange for cash, which he never paid.

During video calls, Burns would keep his camera off but “direct and control” them by giving them specific instructions about what to do and “persuade” them to carry out increasingly explicit sexual activity, the court was told.

He would screen record the video calls and save the recordings so he could access them later.

Prosecutors described him as a “controlling and manipulative sexual predator”.

He was arrested and his devices were seized after an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Nigel Whalley, an investigator at the NCA’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, told the court on the first day of the trial that there was evidence Burns was speaking with women from across the UK, US and Australia.

The judge should said Burns should be under no illusion he would be facing a “significant” custodial sentence, but said the sentencing hearing, scheduled for January, would be “long and complex” due to the crimes involved.

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