UK manager who cared for 131 children worldwide jailed for 20 months | UK News

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A British school principal who treated at least 131 children around the world using social media while working at a school in Iraq has been jailed for 20 months.

Nicholas Clayton, 38, of The Wirral, used Facebook Messenger to contact children as young as 10, asking for photos and attempting to sexually abuse them.

He was arrested after asking a 13-year-old Cambodian boy for photos of his bare chest and arranging to pay for the boy’s trip to Malaysia so they could meet.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) received information about the communication and arrested him upon his return to the UK.

Investigators found Clayton texted hundreds of boys around the world, spanning the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Morocco, Turkey and others on a period of only three months.

He appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on August 23, where he admitted three counts of sexual communication with a child under 16 and one count of incitement to the sexual exploitation of a child.

On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison and served on a sexual abuse prevention order for 15 years.

Facebook’s new plans will ‘hide similar predators’

The case has sparked fresh calls for a ‘robust’ online security bill, with the NSPCC warning plans of Facebook owner Meta to introduce end-to-end encryption that “blindfold” authorities to similar predators.

Andy Burrows, head of child online safety policy at the charity, said: “Clayton’s case highlights the ease with which offenders can contact large numbers of children on social media with the intent to care for them and sexually abuse them.

“Private messaging is the front line of online child sexual abuse. It is therefore concerning that Meta is considering continuing with end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger, which will blindfold and prevent law enforcement to identify criminals like Clayton.

“The UK government can show global leadership in tackling online child abuse by delivering strong online safety legislation without delay that embeds child protection at the heart of every social media site.”

New Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan has previously said there are no plans to water down proposals for new internet safety laws, which Mr Burrows called “really encouraging”.

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Hazel Stewart of the NCA said: “Nicholas Clayton abused his position of trust as a school principal by attempting to contact and sexually exploit children, using technology to gain access to hundreds of victims. potential around the world.

“Clayton was very careful and cautious in his communications, making them appear innocent, but as NCA investigators we could see the predatory grooming patterns he used on vulnerable children.

“Protecting children from sex offenders is a priority for the NCA, and we continue to pursue criminals in the UK and overseas to ensure abusers like Clayton are held accountable.”

Facebook “takes its time to do it right”

A Facebook spokesperson said: “We have zero tolerance for child exploitation on our platforms and incorporate strong security measures into our plans.

“We are focused on preventing harm by banning suspicious profiles, defaulting under 18s to private or ‘friends only’ accounts, and more recently introduced restrictions that prevent adults from sending messages to children with whom they are not connected.

“We also encourage people to report harmful messages to us so that we can see the content, respond quickly and make referrals to the authorities. As we roll out this technology, we take our time to get it right and are working with outside experts to help keep people safe online.”

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