Sex predator with Coventry victim blackmailed and abused dozens of children and women | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A twisted ‘pupil’ of one of the most dangerous sexual predators in the UK has been jailed. Anthony ‘Danny’ Burns blackmailed and abused dozens of children and adults and had a victim in Coventry.

Burns, 39, worked with notorious Birmingham online child sex offender Abdul Hasib Elahi, who was jailed for 32 years in December 2021 after targeting 2,000 people globally to commit sadistic online abuse, said the NCA (National Crime Agency). Burns used ‘sugar daddy’ websites to trap dozens of unsuspecting females into performing sexual and degrading acts under the threat of blackmail between May 2018 and March 2021.

One of his 35 victims was a seven-year-old girl in the United States, who was abused by her mother following sustained coercion by Burns. He attempted to contact approximately 600 people around the world with the intention of sexually exploiting them, said the NCA.

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Elahi ‘tutored’ Burns on the psychology of blackmail, including techniques such as scripted wording to help gain the trust of victims, and provided instructions on what to say to them and how they would respond to being threatened. Burns used multiple online personas to ensnare his victims, including posing as the head of a model agency and saying he worked for the NCA.

Once Burns had gained the trust of his victims, he moved them to WhatsApp as the messages and photographs shared are end-to-end encrypted. He was able to delete read messages from his and his victims’ phones, thereby removing visible evidence, said the NCA.

All the victims were ordered to film themselves carrying out sexual acts in the belief they would be paid £600, but the money was never transferred. 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.

Detectives say the nature of the demands became more severe and degrading at the point that Burns had entrapped the victims through the threat of them being exposed. Officers arrested the 39-year-old in February 2019. His mobile phone and computers were seized and forensically examined.

Evidence from Burns’ phone highlighted the scale and propensity of his offending, and showed that he was blackmailing several victims at the same time, said the NCA. Most of his victims were in England, but others were as far away as the Channel Islands, Australia and the United States.

Burns – originally from Lowestoft – was charged with various offences, 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; possessing extreme pornography; malicious communications offences and failure to comply with notification requirements, said the NCA. He admitted 41 counts and was found guilty of a further two on August 30, 2023, following a two-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 24 years in prison with a further five on licence at Birmingham Crown Court today (Friday, January 19). He will also be subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and has been placed on the sex offenders register for life, said the NCA. All 35 of Burns’ victims on the indictment, aged between seven and 54, have been safeguarded.

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

“Cases like these harden our 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.”

Bethany Raine, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS, 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 and 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.”

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