David Wilson. Picture: National Crime Agency

A King’s Lynn man who pretended to be teenage girls online has pleaded guilty to 96 sex abuse offences against 51 boys aged from four to 14.

David Nicholas Wilson, of Kirstead, manipulated the boys into sending extreme footage of themselves and, in some cases, of them abusing younger siblings and friends, the court heard.

He admitted the offences between May 2016 and April this year when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday.

The charges included intentionally causing or inciting boys to engage in sexual activity, blackmail, intentionally causing children to look at sexual images, and intentionally facilitating the sexual exploitation of children by sending on images of those children. 

The 36-year-old labourer is due to be sentenced on Tuesday, January 12.

But a National Crime Agency investigation unearthed evidence of as many as 500 victims sending him images and of Wilson contacting at least 5,000 children in the UK and abroad.

An NCA spokesman said Wilson was one of the most prolific child sexual abuse offenders it had ever investigated and he showed no compassion even when some victims begged him to stop.

Investigators found Wilson created and used a series of fake identities to contact victims on Facebook and other social media.

Using unregistered phones, he sent sexual images of young women from the internet in exchange for the boys sending him videos and images of themselves.

He built up trust with his victims before blackmailing them into sending him more extreme footage of themselves and in some cases, of them abusing other children.

On some occasions he then distributed the images to victims’ friends, the NCA said, and several children on the indictment spoke of wanting to end their lives. 

The agency spokesman said it had been an extremely involved legal process that took close to two years to complete. 

The NCA received the relevant evidential material in October 2019.

It contained more than 250,000 messages to analyse and the scale of Wilson’s offending became clear with victims across the UK and in America and Australia, the spokesman said.

After Monday’s court hearing, Tony Cook, NCA head of child sex abuse operations, said: “David Wilson is a prolific offender who has caused heartbreaking suffering to some of the boys and their families in this case.

“He was able to gain the boys’ trust and exploit their use of social media using well practiced techniques to convince them he was genuinely a young female who was interested in them.

“He then manipulated or forced them to send images of themselves or other children which he craved.  

“He knew the anguish victims were suffering but ignored any pleas from them to stop until he got what he wanted from them.

“Wilson retained material the children had sent and used the threat of sharing it among their friends to control them.

“I commend the victims and their families for their bravery in helping the prosecution and our investigators for painstakingly and tenaciously proving Wilson was responsible.

“Wilson is an example of adult sexual offenders who use the internet to hide their real identities, using plausible online personas to exploit children.

“We know children are increasingly sharing personal material on social media sites but I would implore them to think carefully about their interactions online and be aware of the hurt and long-term damage manipulative offenders like Wilson cause.”