A prolific paedophile who posed online as the singer Justin Bieber to convince young girls all over the world to expose themselves on video has been jailed for 14 years, in a case described as one of the worst the courts have ever seen.
The “sadistic exploitation” conducted by 35-year-old Robert Hunter, from Middlesbrough, was so extensive he sparked an international operation through Interpol. Hunter, who admitted 15 child sex charges at Teesside Crown Court, used sites such as Facebook and Skype to abuse girls as young as nine.
The court heard that after being arrested in December 2012, he continued to target children and this resulted in a girl from Tasmania eventually contacting police, who traced him back to his home.
In total, more than 800 videos and images were discovered on his computer, all of them having been made by the defendant. Hunter also blackmailed some of the victims into agreeing to his demands by threatening to make the videos he had already made of them public.
In total, Hunter pleaded guilty to 30 offences, which included 15 charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and 14 of making indecent photos of children.
Judge Peter Bowers said it was “one of the most serious cases on internet abuse that the courts have dealt with”.