Sick link between blackmail sex offender Anthony Burns and Britain’s worst online predator

Blackmail sex offender Anthony Burns jailed as his sick link to Britain’s worst online sexual predator Abdul Elahi spoken about in court
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A ‘pupil’ of one of Britain's worst online sexual predators has been jailed for 24 years after blackmailing women from all over the world into carrying out degrading acts.

Depraved Anthony ‘Danny’ Burns, 39, was tutored by notorious online child sex offender Adbul Elahi, from Sparhill, in Birmingham, who was jailed for 32 years in December 2021. Elahi was found guilty of targeting 2,000 people globally to commit sadistic online abuse.

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Between May 2018 and March 2021, Burns used ‘sugar daddy’ websites to blackmail dozens of unsuspecting females into performing sexual acts. One of his 39 victims was an eight-year-old girl in America, who was abused by her mother following sustained coercion by Burns.

The court heard the vile pervert would follow a pattern when engaging with women online, usually by "sugar daddy" or other legitimate online dating sites. He used different identities and phone numbers as well as fake profile photos and on one occasion he pretended to be a National Crime Agency (NCA) officer.

On occasions he would pose as a modelling agent and after making contact with the women would move their conversations to WhatsApp before asking them to send sexual photographs or videos in exchange for £600, which he never paid.

Anthony Burns, one of Britian's worst sexual predators Anthony Burns, one of Britian's worst sexual predators
Anthony Burns, one of Britian's worst sexual predators

When the women agreed to a video call over WhatsApp, Burns would keep his camera off but "direct and control" them giving them specific instructions what to do and "persuade" them to carry out increasingly explicit activity.

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When he had received enough explicit material he then threatened to expose the pictures to the victim's families and friends unless they sent more increasingly depraved photographs and videos. He would record the video calls and save the recordings to the cloud so he could access them again later.

Burns had previously denied two charges of causing a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity but was found guilty in August last year following a trial.

He had previously admitted 26 charges of blackmail, six of making malicious communications, five of making indecent images of children, distributing indecent images of children, possessing extreme pornography, sexual exploitation of children and failure to comply with notification requirements.

Sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court today (Friday, January 19), Judge Sarah Buckingham said Burns had an "addiction to pornography and paedophile tendencies".

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She added the blackmail offences involved multiple victims and "displayed depravity and callousness throughout your offending." She said: "There were significant amounts of planning. You had a complete disregard for your victims' suffering.

"When they refused to comply you threatened to expose them. Some attempted suicide, others self harmed. You have a predatory attitude towards vulnerable women, you are arrogant and have a deep seated cruel streak."

Abdul ElahiAbdul Elahi
Abdul Elahi

She said that one of the women was a single mother and university student who needed money while another was a 17-year-old from Tasmania. She described the offence involving him posing as a NCA officer, when he contacted a mother whose daughter had been abused by Elahi, as "particularly unpleasant". She continued: "You raised her hopes that images might be traced and destroyed but cruelly dashed them."

She said the most serious offences were those he was convicted of when he persuaded a mother from Texas, after promising her "thousands of dollars," to abuse her own daughter which he encouraged and directed.

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The judge said Burns had shown no remorse and added: "I have read all the impact statements of the victims and no one with an ounce of sympathy could fail to be moved.

"The impact of your offending runs deep for all of them. All describe feeling isolated and not being able to trust men. They say they have been ashamed, embarrassed and exposed. None of them deserve to think like that. They are not to blame. You are."

Judge Buckingham said the defendant, who had previous convictions involving the abuse of children going back to 2010, was not always the junior partner with Elahi. She pointed out he had targeted vulnerable women with financial problems, single parents and those desperate to provide for their families. The court was told Burns, originally from Lowestoft in Suffolk, had attempted to contact around 600 people around the world, including the USA and Australia, with the intention of sexually exploiting them.

He was arrested following an investigation by the National Crime Agency who seized his devices. Kate Temple-Mabe, prosecuting, said "The scale and range of the offences clearly demonstrate that he had a perverse interest in sexual activity, controlling vulnerable women into performing degrading sexual acts for his sexual gratification."

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She said he was motivated by a desire to "embarrass, belittle and manipulate" the victims and that he would "terrify them into meeting his demands." The offences occurred over a two and a half year period, between 2018 and the beginning of 2021 and that he was "required to become more sophisticated, secretive and manipulative." She said: "He and Elahi worked together for a period of time. Elahi told Burns what to say and gave him scripts."

'A revolting sexual offender'

During the sentencing hearing eight victims read out their impact statements and a recording was played from a woman in Australia. NCA Operations Manager Robert Slater said after the case: “Anthony Burns’ was a revolting sexual offender.

“My first thoughts go out to his victims, many of whom showed immense courage by providing vital evidence to secure his conviction. The control he sought over them, some of whom were young children, was sinister, manipulative and heartless.

“Cases like these harden the NCA’s determination to pursue the highest harm sexual offenders, including those who use technology nefariously in an attempt to hide their activities, and make them accountable for their disgusting crimes.

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“Anyone being pressured or threatened into sending sexual images or videos online, should try to remove themselves immediately from the conversation, not respond further to any contact, and report the matter to police. You are not alone, you are not to blame and help is always available.”

Bethany Raine, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS, said: “Anthony Burns had an obsessive interest in controlling women and children into performing increasingly degrading sexual acts online for his own gratification.

“Burns belittled and humiliated women. They became trapped in a web of fear where their own images became tools of manipulation and extortion, leaving them vulnerable to his depraved demands.

“His conviction sends a clear message that the CPS is committed in bringing offenders like Burns, who sexually abuse and exploit victims, to justice, wherever that abuse takes place.”

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