By: Chandrashekar Bhat
AN “exceptionally dangerous predator” posed as a wealthy stockbroker to blackmail women and children into sending him their sexually explicit images.
Described as “being in a league of his own”, Abdul Elahi, 26, is believed to have targeted about 2000 women and children in 34 countries – 500 of them in the UK.
Birmingham Crown Court began the sentencing hearing of the former McDonald’s employee on Wednesday (8) after he admitted 158 charges committed against 72 complainants.
Elahi, from Sparkhill, Birmingham, used fake names to target his victims online, persuading them to send him their pictures and videos in exchange for money.
He would then make them send more depraved material including humiliating videos of them taking part in abuse with other children and siblings, the court heard.
According to the prosecution, he is an “exceptionally dangerous predator.”
Prosecutor Adrian Langdale said, “the whole persona, the whole arrangement, was a sham from the very beginning”.
“He simply, it would appear, saw his victims as a way of making money. Victims were targeted day after day, with no let-up from Mr Elahi.”
Elahi also “acted as a mentor” to other online abusers and “copy-cat” offenders targeted some of his victims, the court heard.
The so-called “box sets” of abusive images and videos compiled by Elahi were distributed in vast quantities, the court heard.
Elahi switched online conversations to WhatsApp to cover his tracks, Langdale said, adding that “67,000 indecent images” of children have been recovered from numerous devices and cloud storage.”
Evidence suggested he “carefully structured and logged all of his material,” the court heard, as the offending spanned from 2017 to 2019 when he was living in his family home.
The pictures were sold on to paedophiles irrespective of the damage he was causing.
He would launder the money through Amazon gift cards and buy electrical goods which he would sell for cash.
Among those targeted on so-called “sugar daddy” websites were financially desperate victims, including mothers at risk of losing their homes or struggling to feed their children.
Elahi is believed to have transferred large amounts of money to persuade women to abuse their children on camera.
He is likely to be sentenced later this week.