Jail for paedophile who sparked international manhunt

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A paedophile who sparked an international manhunt after his obscured face appeared in hundreds of images depicting under-age pornography was jailed today.

Teacher Christopher Neil, 32, digitally hid his face with a swirling shape before posting pictures of him sexually abusing at least a dozen Vietnamese and Cambodian boys on the internet.

After the images were unscrambled by Interpol, investigators received hundreds of tips which led to Neil's arrest in October last year.

Neil, a school teacher from British Columbia, Canada, was sentenced to three years and three months in Bangkok, Thailand, for sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.

The court also imposed a 60,000 baht (£955) fine after he pleaded guilty to abusing the Thai teenager, but pleaded not guilty to abusing the boy's younger brother.

He still faces trial over the victim's younger brother, who was nine at the time, and has been warned he could eventually face a sentence of up to 20 years.

Charges he has yet to face trial for include sexually abusing a minor, videotaping the alleged abuse, taking a child without parental consent, and holding him against his will.

The younger child claims Neil paid him £7.50 to £15 to perform oral sex in 2003. That trial resumes on 7 October.

When asked to comment, Neil only said "OK" as he was taken to a Bangkok prison where he will serve his sentence.

Rosalind Prober, president of the Canadian child rights group Beyond Borders, said: "This is the first, baby step for Christopher Neil in terms of having him held accountable for the international sex crimes he is accused of committing."