Who is Matthew Falder? The Birmingham University researcher jailed after admitting 137 charges including encouraging child rape

One of Britain’s most prolific paedophiles has been jailed for 32 years after blackmailing victims into carrying out depraved sexual and physical acts.

Matthew Falder’s conviction is thought to be the first prosecution in the UK related to sadistic “hurtcore” material – an extreme subculture of paedophilia described by police as “the worst of the worst”.

The Cambridge University graduate and Birmingham University researcher evaded police detection for nearly four years before his arrest in June last year. 

He admitted 137 charges out of the 188 against him, against 46 victims, which ranged from encouraging the rape of a child to possessing a “paedophile manual”.

‘Double life’

Dr Matthew Falder led a “double life” as an academic researcher by day and a depraved abuser and blackmailer of children by night, prosecutors said.

He was brought up by a “loving” family in Cheshire, excelled at school and went to Cambridge University, where he got a Master’s and PhD, before becoming a researcher and lecturer at Birmingham University.

Surveillance footage of Matthew Falder on a train (PA)

The “IT savvy” 29-year-old evaded police detection for years through the use of anonymised emails and encrypted internet forums.

He would prey on victims by responding to classified ads, often asking for work as dog-walkers or babysitters, on websites such as Gumtree.

Posing as a woman who could not have children and who would draw to combat depression, he asked them to contact him with their personal email address.

He asked them to send naked or partially-clothed images of themselves in return for cash – duping them into thinking he was seeking nude photos for artwork.

Once snared in his trap, the victims were coerced into giving away personal and intimate details about themselves, including their sexual history.

Photo of Matthew Falder’s flat showing his desk and computer (PA)

Falder threatened to send the pictures to their families and distribute them on the internet if they did not co-operate with his “increasingly severe” demands.

Those demands included carrying out degrading acts such as eating dog food or holding signs that read “I am a sex slave”.


The geophysicist would use the images to try to reach VIP status among the “hurtcore” community on a now-defunct website called Hurt 2 The Core, which was among a host of encrypted sites on the so-called “dark web”.

Falder’s account on the website, using the name “inthegarden”, revealed he had a preference for victims aged from birth to 18, both male and female, and he used it to ask for tips on how to abuse people.

Under different aliases, particularly “evilmind” and “666devil”, he posted in forums claiming to have a daughter and requested ideas for ways to torture her in what he called “hell week”.

When British police were alerted to the “inthegarden” account following the FBI’s takedown of the Hurt 2 The Core network, the National Crime Agency found little to go on as they sought to identify the person behind the moniker.

Footage of Matthew Falder’s covert camera set-up (PA)

Falder used around 70 online identities to contact around 200 people across the country from Cornwall to north-east Scotland and Mid Wales to Northern Ireland, as well as in the US and Canada, and was careful not to leave tracks on the open web, particularly social media.

And there was no money trail for investigators to follow.

Ruona Iguyovwe, senior prosecutor with the international justice and organised crime division of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “He was very IT savvy and he was very surveillance-aware.

“He made no telephone contacts with any victims, he made very careful use of social media – he was very distrustful of it.”

‘Rap sheet from hell’

Once discovered, Falder was found to have two devices with large amounts of indecent images, including a video showing the rape of a newborn baby and a “paedophile manual” instructing other paedophiles how to carry out child sex abuse and not be detected by police.

Convicted: Dr Matthew Falder (REUTERS)

Upon his arrest, he feigned ignorance and, when told of some of the 188 offences he was accused of, said: “That’s the rap sheet from hell.”

Away from his computer, Falder appeared to come from a “normal” family background, which NCA senior investigating officer Matt Sutton said showed “nothing that acted as a precursor or diagnostic indicator” to his crimes.

He was in a relationship and was living in Birmingham as he embarked on his career as a post-doctoral university researcher.

‘Watershed’ moment

The first successful conviction of a “hurtcore” paedophile has been described as a “watershed” moment for British police as they respond to new technologies that give criminals opportunities to increase the scale and depravity of child abuse.

Falder used his “evilmind” and “666devil” accounts on encrypted dark web forums to coerce, control and ultimately devastate his victims.

And he is not alone, investigators at the NCA warned.

Still taken from footage of a search of Matthew Falder’s bedroom (PA)

Will Kerr, NCA director of vulnerabilities, said police are increasingly concerned about what he described as “horrific” crimes, often done for profit and linked to organised gangs, and which required “unprecedented” levels of resources to stop.

The NCA, along with UK police forces, Government listening post GCHQ, US Homeland Security, the Australian Federal Police and Europol, needed up to 100 investigators to find, track and detain Falder.

Two elements have come to characterise child sex exploitation and abuse (CSEA) online in the last few years, Mr Kerr said – the abundance of indecent images of children online and the new type of “higher harm” offences including live streaming and dark web-enabled blackmail.

The victims

The traumatised victims of Falder suffered the real-world consequences of his online actions, with three attempting to take their own lives to escape the nightmare he had drawn them into.

Footage of a custody interview with Matthew Falder, who continually answered no comment to the interviewers questions (PA)

He forced one victim to film herself licking toilet seats, a used tampon and eating dog food, and set up secret cameras in bathrooms to record women and girls naked.

She was first approached by Falder on Gumtree after posting an advertisement as a babysitter to earn money, while studying for exams, before he bombarded her with messages “every day”.

He duped her into sending nude images which he would use as “tasteful” illustrations, before his manner changed from “nice” to “threatening”.

Chilling photos show squalid lair of ‘warped and sadistic’ paedophile

She told Birmingham Crown Court she would “always be scared of meeting new people.”

Another victim was blackmailed into eating his faeces and drinking urine, while Falder also encouraged the rape of a boy, aged two, by his own father.

He set up hidden cameras in publicly accessible toilets, catching unsuspecting victims on film, and using the footage to blackmail.

“Hurtcore does what it says on the tin really – it’s aim is to hurt the individual to their very core,” NCA investigator Matthew Long said.

“So it’s about the absolute disruption, devastation and ripping apart of the human condition and if you’ve got an end of unpleasantness it’s right at the far end for me.”

Source : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/who-is-matthew-falder-the-birmingham-university-researcher-jailed-after-admitting-137-charges-a3770506.html