The British director who groomed 131 children around the world jailed for 20 months

A British headmaster who groomed 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 caught after asking a 13-year-old Cambodian boy for photos of his bare upper torso and arranging to pay for the boy’s trip to Malaysia so they could meet.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) received intelligence on the communication and arrested him when he returned to the UK.

Investigators discovered that Clayton had been messaging hundreds of children around the world, from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Morocco, Turkey, and others over a period of just three months.

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

On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison and subject to a 15-year sexual harm prevention order.

New Facebook plans ‘will hide similar predators’

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

Andy Burrows, the charity’s head of children’s online safety policy, said: “Clayton’s case highlights the ease with which large numbers of children can be contacted by criminals on social media with the intention of grooming and abusing them. sexually from them.

“Private messaging is the front line of child sexual abuse online. So it’s concerning that Meta plans to go ahead with end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger, which will blindfold themselves and law enforcement.” so they don’t identify criminals like Clayton.

“The UK government can show global leadership in the fight against online child abuse by swiftly delivering a strong online safety bill that puts child protection at the heart of every social networking site.”

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

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

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

“Protecting children from sex offenders is a priority for the NCA, and we continue to go after offenders in the UK and internationally to ensure abusers like Clayton are held to account.”

Facebook “takes our time to get it right”

A Facebook spokesperson said: “We do not tolerate child exploitation on our platforms and we are building strong security measures into our plans.

“We’re focused on preventing harm by banning suspicious profiles, assigning private or ‘friends only’ accounts by default to those under 18, and more recently introduced restrictions that prevent adults from messaging kids they don’t know. They are connected.

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

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