Published: 11:37, 14 October 2019
| Updated: 17:06, 14 October 2019
A man who is described as one of the country's worst ever paedophiles is thought to have been stabbed to death in his prison cell.
Richard Huckle, who originally came from Ashford, was convicted on 71 counts of serious sexual assaults against children while spending time in Malaysia.
The former Harvey Grammar School student took on the personas of a teacher, photographer and devout Christian while there to gain access to his victims.
He abused children ranging from three months to 12-years-old over a 10-year period.
In June 2016, he was handed 22 life sentences with a minimum stint of 25 years before being able to apply for parole.
The 33-year-old, who regularly attended the Ashford Baptist Church on Station Road, has often been described as one of the worst paedophiles in British history despite being arrested at the age of 28.
He was discovered in his cell at the Full Sutton prison near York, and an investigation is under way.
KMTV report on the case at the time he was jailed
His death is being treated as suspicious with unconfirmed reports suggesting he was stabbed.
Humberside Police said: "An investigation has been launched following an incident at HMP Full Sutton on Sunday.
"We were called shortly after 12.30pm reporting that a man had died at the prison.
"Humberside Police are working closely with the Prison Service to investigate the death of an inmate and at this time we are treating the death as suspicious."
A suspect is thought to have been identified but no arrests have been made.
At the time of his conviction a court heard Huckle awarded himself points for how vile the offences were and even wrote a 60-page instruction manual 'Paedos in Poverty: A Child Lovers Guide' on how to groom children and how to distribute videos secretly on the dark web.
He boasted online that it was easier to abuse poor Asian children rather than wealthier Western kids.
His crimes included filming child rape and sexual assault which he posted for sale on the dark web via website called True Love Zone (TMZ) and for which he was paid in Bitcoins.
Some of his victims were living in children's home while they were being abused, and Huckle would gain the trust of a community by providing English language tuition.
He first visited Malaysia in 2005 on a gap-year teaching placement, before returning in 2007 to a small village where he took up a voluntary teaching post in a small village where he abused two sisters for seven years.
The investigation which brought Huckle to justice was led by the National Crime Agency's (NCA) and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP).
Tony Cook, NCA CEOP Head of Operations, described Huckle as a "lone offender", and said since 2005 he has travelled to regularly to South East Asia, particularly Malaysia.
"He presented himself as a legitimate student, photographer, English teacher and philanthropist but his MO was that he was abusing the children he purported to care about.
"He targeted, in particular, impoverished children, families in the poor community in Kuala Lumpur, which is 6,500 miles away from the UK, which added to the complexities of our investigation.
"He exploited their poverty and Huckle used a pseudonym and stated he was living in India to cover his tracks.
"He went on to Malaysia to abuse girls, boys, babies, toddlers and pre-teens.
"His abuse included multiple rapes and penetrative assaults and he uploaded still and moving images and graphic details to paedophile networks on the dark web.
"Amazingly enough he kept an electronic ledger to record his abuse on which he awarded himself points. He scored the offences depending on the severity, of his own offences for his own purposes.
"He would score one point to himself per category per victim.
"The scale of his offending can be shown by the fact he got himself to 1305 points between November 2013 and November 2014.
"He would sum up each week with dates against the name of the victim, the location, age and sex and tick against one or more categories he scored in."
Listen to today's news podcast which focuses on the death of Richard Huckle.
He was arrested at Gatwick Airport in December 2014 when he arrived home for Christmas, where his parents were waiting for him.
In his luggage he had a phone, camera and computer which contained images of child abuse, it was said.
Huckle was bailed and returned home to his parents later that night, while investigators analysed the items they seized.
The following day, his mother questioned him about the allegations, and he confessed he had had sexual activity with children aged three to 13, the court heard today.
Brian O'Neill, prosecuting, said: "His mother was extremely upset and angry.
"She and his father called the police and asked them to take their son away.
"They made it clear they did not want him under their roof.
"Both have made witness statements in support of this prosecution."
"I have dealt with an awful lot of paedophiles over the years and I think he is one of the most committed, most manipulative, and conniving we have come across..." — Matt Long
Matt Long, Deputy Head of Operations from Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command, at the time described how Huckle was able to ingratiate himself with his target communities saying: "I think he was extremely good at grooming, which is not a pleasant concept.
"He would use any opportunity he had to influence, cajole and manipulate people into a position where he was given access to children.
"He was doing all the time, he was a constant groomer. He integrated himself into small communities which were vulnerable, impoverished and poor.
Mr Long added: "I have dealt with an awful lot of paedophiles over the years and I think he is one of the most committed, most manipulative, and conniving paedophiles we have come across where he has been so committed to using a variety of grooming methods that there was no point he would stop."
When asked if there had been any victims in the UK, Tony Cook said: "We are not absolutely certain. We have investigated the offences we have got evidence and intelligence against.
"If we had evidence he committed offences in the UK then we would have investigated them. That's not to say he hasn't committed offences in the UK."
The NCA says there are more victims out there, but it has taken every step it can to identify them.
Huckle would also boast online to his paedophile friends about his abuse.
In one comment he said: "Its impoverished kids are definitely much much easier to seduce than middle-class western kids. I still plan on publishing a guide on the subject some time."
In another one he said: "As long as I keep a broad number of contacts amongst the poorer people I know, I'm sure some will be inclined for someone of high status, such as myself, to be caring for their kids for the long or short term."
He also described his desire to make money from his abuse, saying: "Would love to make a small income off of selling child porn."
In another he said: "If I were to transfer my skills learnt from India and tried to use them in the west I wouldn't last a month before I found myself in a cell. My freedom relies on the hush mentality of the locals on this kind of thing.
"I guess it's a bit similar to what xxxxxx were doing in the 1970s. It didn't matter back then but it is all coming out now thanks to a change in society's attitudes. If India becomes liberated and I become professionally successful, maybe I could be facing the wrath in 20 to 40 years."
In another post he said: "It will likely take something very serious to get me to stop or slow down… if I'm not suffering consequences what is there for me to learn from."
More by this authorCharlie Harman