Spanish National Police have arrested a paedophile who filmed himself performing sex acts on children as young as three.
The National Police arrested the suspect – whose identity is being withheld – in Sant Pere de Ribes, Barcelona Province, on 23rd January.
He allegedly recorded himself carrying out sex attacks on minors, some of whom were his friends’ children.
Police say he obscured his face in the images, which he then uploaded to the dark web.
Investigators were able to identify him after the outside of his flat appeared through a chink in the window, allowing them to geolocate it.
They have identified six victims – aged between three and 10 – but police warn there could be more, not least because the suspect worked as a youth football coach.
The suspect has been remanded in custody and police have seized hard drives, memory cards, a phone, and a camera from his flat.
The National Police said in a statement obtained by the Newsflash Agency: “Agents of the National Police have arrested a dangerous paedophile in the province of Barcelona who allegedly sexually assaulted young children from his closest environment.
“The arrested man – who has entered prison on remand – recorded the attacks with his mobile phone, always hiding his face and, later, uploaded them to different Dark Web channels used by paedophiles all over the world.
“Agents had to resort to image recognition techniques and police intelligence to obtain the investigated person’s true identity due to the strong security measures he adopted.
“International police cooperation – specifically from Queensland Police (Australia) and Interpol’s Crimes Against Children unit – was decisive in the development of the investigation, on which the Local Police of Sant Pere de Ribes (Barcelona Province) also collaborated.
“So far six victims – aged between three and 10 – have been identified, all of them belonging to the detainee’s environment, either because of friendship with their parents or because they shared a flat.
“The investigation began when specialised agents from the National Police analysed images of sexual assaults on minors that were detected in different forums on the Dark Web that seemed to have been recorded in Spain.
“Specifically, there were several videos and photos in which a man sexually assaulted children whose number could not be identified since they were recorded at very close distance and, on occasions, in high quality.
“Thanks to international police cooperation, Task Force Argos of the Queensland Police (Australia) participated in the detection and tracking of these files, together with the technical and analytical capabilities offered by Interpol in this matter.
“Due to the strong security measures adopted by the detainee, agents had to resort to tracking tools from open sources and image recognition techniques and police intelligence, which yielded the identity of an alleged perpetrator.
“After analysing the setting of the investigated files, it was proven that they had been recorded in our country [Spain] by a Spanish-speaking person with characteristic idioms.
“This confirmed that it was the suspect, who was also still possibly having contact with minors, which is why the police action was precipitated.
“The registry confirmed that one of the places where the acts were committed was that same house, as well as another address located in a nearby town where he previously lived.
“Agents located new images of minors, all of them male, and managed to identify them.
“So far they have been able to identify six victims; two of them were three and seven years old when they were sexually assaulted; a third, of a similar age, suffered several gropings; two others, between eight and 10 years old, were photographed naked; and the last one was identified as a victim of sexual assault, although no footage has been located so far.
“The investigation showed that the arrestee had been committing these acts since 2016.
“In addition, all the victims belonged to his closest surroundings, either because of the friendship he had with their parents, or because he had shared a flat with them.
“Agents also found abundant traces of access to the Dark Web, including numerous links to secret forums and much little-known child pornography downloaded from those places.
“As a result of the search, four hard drives, three memory cards, a mobile phone and an action camera were seized.
The authorities have not discounted the emergence of new victims.