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w0nderland member speaks to the BBC

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The BBC has broadcast chilling footage of an Internet paedophile discussing his activities, two days before he is due to be sentenced for his crimes.

David Hines was one of seven members of paedophilic club w0nderland who recently pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court to charges of trading child pornography over the net.

In the BBC programme, he said that the group did not regard its activities as abusive. "We saw it as there were some children involved in relationships," he said.

Hines also spoke about his love of the Internet. "Oh it's great the Net - its so fast. Everything is moving. There's always a software update you need for some of the programmes on your computer or something and there's always a new game that you've got from somewhere or new pictures to trade or... It's wonderful. It draws you in, it sucks you in. It's a whole world in itself and it moves so fast. That's part of the attraction of it for me."

The programme also looked at the techniques used to trace the paedophiles. Nick Webber, described only as a computer consultant, said that the investigators devised a way of watching them live online and traced them back first to their ISPs and them to their homes.

After that, police surveillance was put in place to identify which household member was actually a member of the w0nderland club.

The programme also had Nicholas Lansman, representing the Internet Service Providers' Association, explaining why newsgroups, carrying illegal content and having names such as sex.babies, sex.boys, sex.children, weren't stopped.

He said that some were stopped but added "the actual names of newsgroups do not actually always correspond with what they actually contain." He suggested newsgroups carrying legitimate content might be banned if decisions were made just on their name.

Hines and his co-conspirators were arrested as part of Operation Cathedral, the largest ever co-ordinated international police sting, and are due to be sentenced tomorrow at Kingston Crown Court.

The investigation was sparked four years ago after Ronald Riva was arrested for molesting a child in Greenfield, California. He was eventually sentenced to over 100 years in prison for his crimes.

During the investigation into Riva's activities, the trail led to a Hastings man, Ian Baldock. When police confiscated his machine they found 42,000 sexually explicit images of children, a haul four times larger than any before.

This arrest alerted the police to the existence of the w0nderland club, a group of 180 people worldwide who traded child pornography online. Some of the members were also serious sexual offenders who recorded and distributed the record of their abuse.

Those arrested in the UK have all pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them and will be sentenced tomorrow. ®

Original Story

Child porn ring smashed

Related Link

The transcript of BBC's Panorama can be found here. It does not make easy reading.

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