A man who sexually and sadistically exploited many vulnerable victims online will be sentenced at the beginning of December after a long and complicated investigation. He was an university academic. Geophysicist Dr Matthew Falder, 28, lead a secret double life during years of study at Cambridge University.
He used many false identities to befriend more than 50 victims on internet marketplace sites such as Gumtree. He persuaded victims to send him naked or partially clothed pictures of themselves, then threatened them with exposure unless they went much further. His victims were girls, boys, women and men. Some were so traumatized they self-harmed, or attempted suicide. He shared many of the images in sex abuse forums on the hidden dark web.
Falder targeted his victims for at least eight years and was unmasked only after detectives brought in specialists from GCHQ, the Government's communications spy center. Arrested in June at Birmingham University where he worked as a post-doctoral researcher, Matthew Falder admitted more than 130 charges into online sex abuse, including encouraging a teenager to rape a four-year-old boy. "He is a very nasty and savage individual. Although his crimes were non-contact, they are very similar to hands-on abuse, by inducing his victims, by whatever means, into doing things they wouldn't normally do. (...) It was a bit similar to rape,” Falder and his actions were described by Mike Hames, former head of Scotland Yard's Paedophile Squad. Matt Sutton, NCA senior investigating officer, said: "In 30 years of law enforcement I have never come across such horrifying offending where the offender's sole aim was to cause such pain and distress.”