England

Dark web paedophile Matthew Falder's sentence reduced

Falder setting up a camera in a bathroom Image copyright NCA
Image caption Falder abused nearly 50 vulnerable victims, but his barrister argued his sentence was "excessive"

A "sadistic" paedophile who was jailed for 32 years has had his sentence reduced.

Matthew Falder, a 29-year-old Cambridge graduate and geophysics researcher, was jailed in February after sharing abuse tips and images on the dark web.

Falder, from Birmingham, admitted 137 charges after a global taskforce spent four years tracking him down.

Three judges at London's Court of Appeal agreed to reduce Falder's prison sentence to 25 years.

His barrister Andrew Smith QC told the court the sentence was "manifestly excessive".

Falder appeared via video-link as the court ruled that 25 years was a more "appropriate" sentence, taking into account his guilty pleas.

Image copyright NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY
Image caption Falder was known as "666devil" and "evilmind" on the dark web

One of the judges, Lord Justice Holyrode, said the court had "considered carefully what total sentence would impose a just and proper punishment for the grave offences".

He said that Judge Philip Parker QC, who sentenced Falder in February, had failed to have "sufficient regard to totality".

Falder, he said, "is now approaching his 30th birthday. He has no previous convictions against him. He grew up in a clearly loving and caring family who are now bewildered by his offending".

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption When the offences were read to Falder, he said it sounded "like the rap sheet from hell"

Falder's offending was found to have dated back to 2009, when he was a 21-year-old student.

The University of Birmingham post-doctoral researcher, of Edgbaston, posed online as a depressed female artist, using a number of different accounts to dupe his victims into sharing nude images.

He would then blackmail his victims into sharing horrific images, threatening to send them to their friends and relatives if they did not submit to his demands.

Falder then posted the images on "hurtcore" websites and hidden forums on the dark web dedicated to sharing images and videos of rape, torture, paedophilia and degradation.

Image copyright NCA
Image caption Falder was the subject of surveillance for three months, with officers covertly filming him as he used his laptop on the train

He was arrested at his office on 21 June 2017 following the global investigation involving the National Crime Agency (NCA), GCHQ, Homeland Security Investigations in the US, the Australian Federal Police and Europol - as well as law enforcement in Israel and Slovenia.

Passing sentence in February, Judge Philip Parker QC branded Falder "warped and sadistic".

He described him as an "internet highwayman", who "wanted to assume total control over [his] victims".

Judge Parker also gave Falder a six-year licence period which was increased to eight years by the Court of Appeal.

The NSPCC said: "In the wake of today's court ruling, it is vital that his victims are supported as they continue to attempt to come to terms with what happened to them."

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