A British headteacher who groomed at least 131 children worldwide using social media while working at a school in Iraq has been jailed, the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) has said.
Nicholas Clayton (38), from The Wirral in England, used Facebook Messenger to contact children as young as 10, asking for photos and attempting to sexually abuse them.
Clayton had been working as principal of an international school in the Kurdistan region of Iraq while he targeted victims from multiple countries over social media.
Clayton was caught after asking a 13-year-old boy from Cambodia for photos of his naked upper torso and arranging to pay for the child to travel to Malaysia so they could meet.
NCA received intelligence about the communication and arrested him when he returned to the UK.
Investigators then found Clayton had been messaging hundreds of boys from across the globe, spanning the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Morocco, Turkey and others over a period of just three months.
Clayton appeared at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on August 23rd where he admitted three counts of sexual communication with a child under 16 years and one charge of inciting the sexual exploitation of a child.
He was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday to 20 months’ imprisonment and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 15 years.
Hazel Stewart, from the NCA, said: “Nicholas Clayton abused his position of trust as a headteacher by attempting to sexually contact and exploit children, using technology to access hundreds of potential victims across the globe.
“Clayton was very cautious and careful in his communications, making them appear to be innocent, but as NCA investigators we could see the patterns of predatory grooming he was using on vulnerable children.
“Protecting children from sex offenders is a priority for the NCA, and we continue to pursue criminals in the UK and internationally to ensure abusers like Clayton are held to account.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.