Some of the victims of ‘Monster of the Century’ contender Richard Huckle received a measure of justice when the British court handed him 22 life sentences for the sexual abuse of numerous children.
The details of his crimes don’t bear repeating, but it is perhaps noteworthy that the life sentences given out for the 71 of 91 charges he admitted to only covered 23 victims. It is believed that the actual number of victims is closer to 200.
The judge meting out the sentence, Peter Rook, singled out his writing of a 60-page paedophile manual as a “truly evil document,” and said that the sentence reflected “public abhorrence” over his crimes. Nevertheless, Rook still noted that Huckle has to serve a minimum of just 23 years.
As Huckle was being led out of court, a woman in the court shouted out “a thousand deaths is too good for you,” which is perhaps a slightly modest figure.
According to the BBC, the British National Crime Agency (NCA)—the agency that arrested Huckle in 2014—only got round last week to contacting two churches that he attended in the UK, and have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for the relatively weak response in this regard.
But it wasn’t the NCA that first had Huckle in their sights. The heroes in this tale are the Queensland Police Taskforce Argos child protection unit, who managed to infiltrate, take over and shut down paedophile website The Love Zone on the dark web back in 2014.
Taskforce Argos had also been tracing 17 other paedophiles on The Love Note, on which Huckle boasted of his exploits. Of that 17, five have been convicted, five arrested, one under investigation, one released without charge, and two killing themselves. The remaining three remain free because investigators were unable to resolve IP data to build their case.
One of the most notable convictions was that of The Love Zone's chief administrator, Shannon McCoole, who worked as a childcare worker in Adelaide. McCoole is serving a 35-year sentence for his crimes. The Love Zone had more than 45,000 members around the world when Argos closed it down.
Although the bulk of the crimes were committed on Malaysian soil, Huckle was prosecuted in the UK under a special legislation covering crimes committed overseas by UK citizens. However, Malaysian police will still be working with the NCA to identify Huckle’s victims, while the British High Commission said that there will be greater international cooperation in the areas of crime intelligence and child protection policies in the future.