Dark web pedophile Matthew Falder gets his sentence reduced from 32 to 25 years
Falder saw his appeal to reduce his prison sentence heard by the Court of Appeals, with a bench of judges ruling that he would have his term reduced from 32 to 25 years
Matthew Falder, one of the UK's most prolific convicted sex offenders, has won an appeal that will see his prison term cut down from 32 years to 25 years. The 30-year-old watched via video link from prison as his lawyer argued that his sentence was "manifestly excessive" and judges in the Court of Appeal concluded that his sentence would be reduced.
According to the Daily Mail, the decision to allow the challenge was announced by Lord Justice Holroyde, sitting with Justice King and Recorder of Winchester Judge Keith Cutler. Holroyde said that after taking into account the credit for guilty pleas and "the principle of totality", the "appropriate" custodial term was 25 years.
He said that the court had "considered carefully what total sentence would impose a just and proper punishment for the grave offenses" and that Falder is "now approaching his 30th birthday. He has no previous convictions against him. He grew up in a clearly loving and caring family who are now bewildered by his offending."
It emerged during his first trial that Falder, supposedly a brilliant geophysicist, lived a double life. A graduate of Cambridge University, he acted as a researcher for Birmingham University during the day and as a sexual predator during the night. By the time the National Crime Agency (NCA), in collaboration with the likes of GCHQ, US Homeland Security, Europol, Australian Federal Police, New Zealand Police, and the Israel Police, had zeroed in on Falder, his victims numbered well over 50.
Falder had 70 different online identities, using various accounts on several different websites to pose as a young girl or woman named 'Liz' to lure people into taking photographs of themselves in humiliating situations. He was said to have engaged in 'hurtcore', which authorities described as manipulating others into performing acts of "rape, murder, sadism, torture, pedophilia, blackmail, humiliation, and degradation".
He blackmailed one person into raping a four-year-old child, and it was reported that he pressurized at least three of his victims to the point they were driven to suicide. Falder would never meet or physically touch any of his victims, instead making contact over the dark web, where he used names such as 'inthegarden', '666devil', and 'evilmind'.
The CPS said that there was a high degree of sophistication and significant planning by Falder and that he used encryption software and technology in his electronic communication, as well as encrypted email addresses to avoid suspicion. He would eventually be caught and arrested at his place of work on 21 June 2017, and it reportedly took over 30 minutes to read out the 188 charges to him at Birmingham Crown Court.
In October 2017, Falder had pleaded guilty to 137 charges — which included voyeurism, encouraging child rape, and sharing images of showing the abuse of a newborn baby — stemming from 46 complainants. Subsequently, on February 18 earlier this year, Judge Philip Parker sentenced him to serve 32 years in prison and a further six on an extended license after his release.
The six years was later increased to eight years by the Court of Appeal. The judge at the sentencing hearing had described Falder as an "internet highwayman" who was "warped and sadistic" and whose behavior was "cunning, persistent, manipulative, and cruel". He was deemed ineligible for parole until 2038 when he would be at least 50 years old, at which point the parole board would decide if they believe he continues to pose a danger to the public or to children.
The NSPCC said: "In the wake of today's court ruling, it is vital that his victims are supported as they continue to attempt to come to terms with what happened to them."