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Lowestoft man Anthony Burns on trial for sexual offences | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

Anthony Burns, from Lowestoft, “embarked upon a sustained campaign of predatory online sexual behaviour”, Birmingham Crown Court heard. 

The 39-year-old went on trial on Friday (August 25) accused of two counts of causing a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

A jury was told Burns used legitimate dating sites to post messages asking for explicit photographs and videos from women in return for cash before moving the conversation to WhatsApp, where video calls would take place.

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He would “direct and control (women) to perform sexual acts online which he would screen capture, then store on his own private cloud to be viewed by him as and when he pleased”, prosecutor Lisa Wilding KC told the court.

The jury heard one woman performed sexual acts on herself on a video call with Burns in August 2020, before sexually abusing a seven-year-old girl, who was also in the room at the time.

Ms Wilding said it is the Crown’s case that the abuse was carried out “at the direction of the defendant”.

She said: “He is a man with a proven sexual interest in children.”

The jury was told the woman involved is serving a prison sentence for her role in the abuse.

Setting out the case against Burns, Ms Wilding said prosecutors believe women carried out the “degrading” acts in return for money, which the defendant never paid.

Burns, who denies the offences, was arrested and his devices were seized after an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The court was told that there is evidence Burns was speaking with women from across the UK, US and Australia.

Judge Sarah Buckingham sent the jury away for the weekend, with the defence case expected to get under way after the bank holiday.

The trial is ongoing.

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