British Army veteran faces prison for online abuse of Filipino children

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British Army veteran
British Army veteran Andrew Whiddett , aged 70, has pleaded guilty to paying for the online abuse of children in the Philippines.

A British Army veteran is facing jail after paying to watch the live-streamed sexual abuse of children in the Philippines.

Andrew Whiddett also planned to visit the country and rape a minor, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has said.

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The 70-year-old ex-lieutenant colonel pleaded guilty to six charges at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday (April 24).

The NCA said Whiddett had directed the abuse over Skype with “known Filipino child sex abuse facilitators”.

Whiddett had conversations with a woman between September and October 2016, in which he made clear he “wanted to sexually abuse a child when he visited the Philippines that October”, the NCA said.

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Investigators were able to prove that he made 49 payments to the woman totalling £8,584 — more than half a million pesos — between January 2015 and July 2017.

Travel records show Whiddett flew to Manila on October 21, 2016, and other messages between Whiddett and abuse facilitators were also discovered by officers.

Arrest led to raid in Philippines

The NCA said it passed intelligence to Filipino police which led to the arrest of a woman in Butuan in April 2018.

As we reported, the suspect offered six children for online abuse, including five of her own. They were aged from three to 14 and were taken into protective custody. The mother was not named to protect the identities of the victims.

British Army veteran
The raid on the suspect’s house in Butuan in April last year, which was conducted after British police had tipped off Filipino authorities about the abuse.

After Whiddett was arrested in October 2017 at London’s Heathrow Airport he admitted to sending 158 payments to the Philippines but said these were for live adult sex shows.

In court on Wednesday he admitted one charge of attempting to cause or incite a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity in November 2015.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of intentionally causing or inciting a girl under 16 to engage in sexual activity in September 2016.

Under a further charge he admitted that in September 2016 he intentionally arranged or facilitated the commission of a child sex offence.

He will also be sentenced for three charges of making indecent photographs of a child.

Following the guilty pleas Judge Nicholas Ainley said: “You should prepare yourself for a period of imprisonment.”

The British Army veteran, who was granted bail, will be sentenced on May 22.

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