The Liverpool Crown Court slapped a British head teacher, who groomed at least 131 children across the world using social media, with 20 months jail term. Nicholas Clayton used Facebook Messenger to contact children as young as 10, asking for photos and attempting to sexually abuse them.
The 38-year-old appeared at the Liverpool Magistrates' Court on August 23. He admitted three counts of sexual communication with a child under 16 years and one charge of inciting the sexual exploitation of a child. Clayton was sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 15 years.
Who is Nicholas Clayton?
Clayton was principal of an international school in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Investigators found that he had been in communication with hundreds of boys aged from 10 to the late teens around the world over a period of just three months. Clayton's chats were found with victims in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Morocco and Turkey among others.
Hazel Stewart, from the National Crime Agency, said Nicholas Clayton abused his position of trust as a head teacher by attempting to sexually contact and exploit children, using technology to access hundreds of potential victims across the globe. He revealed that Clayton was very cautious and careful in his communications â making them seem to be innocent.
NCA Catches the Head Teacher
But the NCA investigators could see the patterns of predatory grooming he was using on vulnerable children. It caught up on Clayton after receiving intelligence that a 13-year-old boy from Cambodia had been contacted on Facebook messenger by a man who asked for photos of his naked upper torso. He had also arranged to pay for the boy to travel to Malaysia so that they could meet.
The NCA arrested Clayton when he returned to UK. The agency quickly obtained a court Sexual Risk Order to mitigate the potential risk of further offending, thus, prohibiting Clayton from worldwide travel while the investigation continues.
Facebook on Child Exploitation
Facebook has no tolerance for child exploitation on its platforms. A spokesperson for the social media platform said it is building strong safety measures into its plans.
Facebook is focused on preventing harm by banning suspicious profiles, defaulting under-18s to private or "friends only" accounts. Recently, the platform introduced restrictions that stop adults from messaging children they are connected with.
It is also encouraging people to report harmful messages for Facebook to see the contents, respond swiftly and make referrals to the authorities concerned. Furthermore, the platform is taking time to get it right and working with experts to help keep people safe online.