Mechanic from Cheshire jailed for 16 years for role in child sex abuse website

Nathan Bake
Nathan Bake (Image: NCA)

A mechanic who helped run one of the dark web’s biggest child sex abuse websites has been jailed for 16 years after he was convicted under organised crime laws in the first case of its kind.

Nathan Bake, a 28-year-old tyre fitter from Runcorn, Cheshire, was the head moderator and second in command of The Annex Рwhich had 90,000 users worldwide.

The site, where paedophiles shared millions of images – including material of the most extreme kind of abuse involving toddlers and babies – has been shut down after a global operation involving the National Crime Agency (NCA) and American law enforcement.

The man who ran the operation has been sentenced to life in prison in the US, while 14 other Americans have been charged over their roles, with eight receiving sentences of between six and 28 years.

Three British moderators charged

Three British moderators have also been charged, including former junior doctor Kabir Garg, 34, who worked as a psychiatrist for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. He was jailed for six years last June, while another man faces sentencing on Monday.

Kabir Garg was jailed for six years. Pic: CPS
Kabir Garg was jailed for six years. (Image: CPS)

 

Bake, whose username was “Pink”, was caught with a 576-page “paedophile manual” and more than 60 digital devices containing more than 800,000 images and videos of child sex abuse when he was arrested in November 2022.

He was jailed for 16 years today after he pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including child sex offences and participating in activities of an organised crime group.

Judge Patrick Thompson said he considered Bake to be a dangerous offender and ordered an extended licence period of four years.

‘Committed paedophile’

“You are a committed paedophile who represents a very significant risk of causing serious harm to children,” he told him.

“In this day and age, given the wide public access to news material, there is very little that shocks the public, but this is such a case.

“People are revulsed by offending of this nature and those who take sexual gratification from the abuse of children in any form.”

It is the first time the NCA has secured a conviction under the organised crime law, which investigators hoped would give the judge more scope to impose a bigger sentence.

Home Office review

There is currently no legislation that specifically deals with the moderation or administration of child sex abuse websites and the agency is in talks with the Home Office to toughen up the laws.

There are about 1.4 million users of the Tor browser, which can be easily downloaded and used to access the dark web, with around 40% of searches relating to child sex abuse, according to investigators.

Anna Pope, prosecuting, told the court The Annex was identified by American law enforcement officers on a server in Romania in 2020 before being moved to a server in Moldova.

‘Nothing was off limits’

The 30 people responsible for running the site put as much time into their work as any other job and would hold staff meetings and suggest people for promotions, said NCA branch commander Adam Priestley.

Users would have to prove themselves in “the gateway” by sharing child sex abuse material before being allowed into other areas.

“There was nothing on this site that was off limits – everything was encouraged, everything was allowed for,” he said.

“The men were very much part of a team of staff – that you would expect to see within any other business – that provided a platform to facilitate a community of paedophiles to encourage the abuse of children all over the world.”

Evasion advice

Bake answered queries from other site users and offered advice on not getting caught, saying in one post: “Come on people, show us what you’ve got for HAPPY HOUR. Show us the boys and girls that turn you on the most.”

The court heard that children’s tights, underwear and sandals were found in the bottom drawer of his computer desk, although investigators said he didn’t have any access to children.

Keith Jones, defending, said Bake was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 16, had converted to Islam, and was studying Arabic.

“He acknowledges that his behaviour is morally reprehensible,” he said.

Source:  Sky News news.sky.com

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