Prolific sexual predator Anthony Burns jailed for blackmailing women | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

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

A “persistent and devious” online predator who blackmailed women into depraved sexual acts and child abuse has been jailed for 24 years.

Anthony Burns, formerly of Lowestoft in Suffolk, controlled and coerced 35 women and young girls between 2018 and 2020, but investigators believe he targeted as many as 600.

His web of victims included women living in the UK, US and Australia, with the majority of them from England.

The youngest was just seven years old.

Burns was already categorised as a “high risk offender” following previous convictions, but continued to prey on women despite being under supervision, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Eight women faced the 39-year-old in court on Thursday as part of a two-day sentencing.

Some of the abused were in tears as Burns was told how he had ripped their lives apart, leaving them distrustful of men and frightened to use social media.

‘Cruel streak’

Burns, who had previous child abuse convictions, admitted 39 offences and was found guilty at a trial of two counts of causing a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing him to a 24-year custodial term and an extended five-year period on licence, Judge Sarah Buckingham said: “Your offending took place over a two-and-a-half-year period.

“You did not care about the anguish you caused and had complete disregard for your victims’ suffering.”

He was someone who was “arrogant with a deep-seated cruel streak” and had caused “immense harm and distress”, she added.

Sophie GoodallSophie Goodall

Sophie Goodhall said she was left fearful in her own home after encountering Burns

Many of his victims said they had had contemplated taking their own lives after being blackmailed into increasingly perverse acts.

He met most of his victims on so-called sugar daddy websites or dating apps, using different identifies, phone numbers and profile photos, the court was told.

He would offer them money and go on to screen-record video calls and threaten to share images with the victims’ loved ones unless they sent more and more explicit and degrading material.

Sophie Goodall, who waived her right to anonymity to talk about the case following Burns being sentenced, said he used various numbers to contact her.

He found her address on the Companies House website leaving her fearful he would attempt to attack her.

She did not share any sexual images but said the experience had left her feeling violated in her own home.

“I was really terrified that he was going to murder me,” she said.

Another victim told the court she had suffered fainting spells and seizures link to poor mental health and sometimes experienced temporary paralysis.

A third explained she was diagnosed with cancer shortly after her ordeal and recalled thinking she would not mind if it killed her.

Burns’ devices were seized after he was arrested following an investigation which included assistance from the FBI.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) had previously said Burns was a “pupil” of prolific sexual blackmailer Abdul Elahi, who perpetrated some of the most serious offending it had ever investigated.

Elahi, who targeted almost 2,000 victims, tutored him on the psychology of blackmail, including techniques to help gain the trust of victims, and provided instruction on how they would respond to threats and what to say to them, the agency said.

Prosecutor Temple-Mabe told the court on Thursday that Elahi and Burns took delight in messaging victims simultaneously.

She said Burns would sometimes receive messages from his mother and girlfriend at the same time he screen recorded people performing live sex acts over WhatsApp.

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