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‘Revolting’ online predator jailed for 24 years had victims in Swindon and Wiltshire | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Anthony Burns (Image: NCA)

A “revolting” online predator who targeted dozens of victims, including some in Swindon and Wiltshire, has been jailed for 24 years.

Anthony ‘Danny’ Burns, originally from Lowestoft, used ‘sugar daddy’ websites to blackmail and coerce 35 female victims into performing sexual and degrading acts.

These victims were aged between seven and 54 and some lived in Swindon and Trowbridge.

In total, Burns attempted to contact 600 people around the world with the intention of sexually exploiting them.

Bethany Raine, specialist prosecutor for the CPS, said Burns’ victims became “trapped in a web of fear” and were manipulated into carrying out degrading acts.

She added: “Anthony 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. 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.”

The 39-year-old’s victims included a seven-year-old girl in the US who was abused by her mother following Burns’ sustained coercion.

Burns had worked with notorious online child sex offender Abdul Elahi, who was jailed for 32 years in December 2021 after targeting 2,000 people globally to commit sadistic online abuse.

Elahi “tutored” Burns on the psychology of blackmail, and his pupil would go on to use multiple online personas to ensnare his victims.

All his victims filmed themselves carrying out sexual acts believing they would be paid £600.

Swindon Advertiser: Anthony BurnsSwindon Advertiser: Anthony Burns

Swindon Advertiser: Anthony Burns

Anthony Burns (Image: NCA)

But instead, Burns would blackmail them into sending “increasingly depraved photographs and videos” by threatening to expose the pictures to their friends and families.

The online predator was arrested in 2019 and his mobile phone and computers were subsequently seized and forensically examined.

Evidence uncovered from his phone showed the extent of his offending and highlighted that he was blackmailing several victims simultaneously.

Following a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation, 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.

He was slapped with a prison sentence of 24 years, with a further five years on licence, after admitting 41 counts and being found guilty of a further two during a trial at Birmingham Crown Court in August last year.

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.

“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.”

Victims of similar offences have been urged to report the matter to police.

Mr Slater added: “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.”

All 35 of Burns’ victims have been safeguarded.

Further advice, support and resources can be found on the NCA website.

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