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A sadistic online blackmailer has been jailed for 32 years after targeting nearly 2,000 people globally to commit some of the most sickening sexual offending the National Crime Agency has ever investigated.

Elahi custody imageAbdul Hasib Elahi, 26, masqueraded as a stockbroker or rich businessman on sugar daddy websites and promised payments of thousands of pounds for naked or partially clothed images.

He singled out victims who were in debt or too young to legitimately be on the sites and tricked them into sending him photographs.

He also targeted some victims on social media.

Elahi, of Sparkhill, Birmingham, sent fake screenshots of money leaving his account in similar transactions to convince victims.

As soon as possible, Elahi moved victims onto WhatsApp - which is protected by end-to-end encryption - and away from the websites he met them on.

When he received enough revealing images he threatened to expose the pictures to the victims’ families and friends unless they sent more increasingly horrendous photographs and videos.

Elahi’s horrific offences included forcing victims to abuse themselves in sickening ways including self-mutilation, blackmailing women to send him footage of them abusing young children and making girls abuse siblings.

Some of the victims were so terrified they felt they had no choice but to comply.

The National Crime Agency investigation showed there were at least 196 victims in the UK and that he had contacted at least 600 people online in the UK.

Elahi had also tried to contact 1,367 women in the United States and there were also victims in 20 other countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Agency worked with international partners to safeguard those Elahi had contacted.

Elahi systematically categorised all the abuse within cloud storage sites.

He then sold the content as ‘box sets’ through the cloud and via the encrypted app Telegram making more than £25,000.

That resulted in further misery for the victims, with their family and friends becoming aware, and often with more offenders trying to blackmail them again.

Unemployed Elahi admitted 158 charges - all committed between 1 January 2017 and 7 August 2020 - in separate hearings at Birmingham Crown Court this year.

The charges include multiple counts of blackmail, disclosing private sexual films and photographs to cause distress, making and distributing indecent images of children, encouraging the sexual assault of children, sexually assaulting a boy, causing or inciting children to engage in sexual activity, fraud and possessing more than 65,000 indecent images of children (IIOC) – including babies being raped.

There were 72 victims on the indictment.

Their ages ranged from eight months to adults.

Where they could be identified, all have been safeguarded.

National Crime Agency officers arrested Elahi on 19 December 2018 following an allegation he was blackmailing a 15-year-old girl in America. His mobile phone and computers were seized and forensically examined.

The complex investigation involved work across multiple foreign jurisdictions. He was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service and remanded in August 2020.

As Elahi he was sentenced today at Birmingham Crown Court, a series of victim impact statements were read.

One victim – a schoolgirl at the time of the offences – said she tried to take a paracetamol overdose after learning Elahi had uploaded her images to Twitter.

It was 12 months after she had sent him images that she received messages on her phone one morning showing her images online.

She said: “I still think about these incidents often which makes me sad.

“I would say for two years this person has ruined my life, I was heartbroken. I remember my 16th birthday, I spent the night crying, I was severely depressed.

“I had to basically pick up the pieces of my life and glue them back together.

“I am trying to move on but I find it very hard, I feel that this will be with me for the rest of my life.”

Another teenage victim said: “Knowing that this cancerous polyp of a human being has been caught gives me great relief. To know his vile reign of terror is over gives me relief.

“I am however shaken to my soul and completely horrified that I was part of this. I have a feeling of dread when I think about it that I can’t even describe and it will never leave me.”

Another victim said she considered taking her own life and is now on medication for anxiety and depression and is constantly worried that videos of her will emerge online again.

“I wish that this had never happened to me,” she said.

“I hope I can put this behind me and get on with the rest of my life."

Tony Cook, NCA Head of CSA operations, said: “Abdul Elahi is a depraved sadist who got sexual gratification through power and control over his victims whom he often goaded to the point of wanting to kill themselves.

“He has wrecked lives and families.

“NCA investigators were horrified by what Elahi had done and stunned by the industrial scale of his worldwide offending.

“The effects on the victims in this case will continue throughout the rest of their lives.

“I commend them for their bravery and I urge anyone who is being abused online to report it. There is help available.

“There are very many offenders like Elahi who mask their real identities with convincing personas to exploit both children and adults.

“It’s vital that parents speak with their children about who they communicate with online and what they share.

“These offences can happen to anyone.

“We thank our international partners especially the FBI for the support given to us on this case.”

The NCA investigation sparked a series of other inquiries into Elahi’s associates.

Several other men have been convicted.

Sophie Mortimer of the Revenge Porn Helpline said: “This is a long-awaited day for Elahi’s very many victims.

“The Revenge Porn Helpline has been working for two and half years and has removed 135,000 individual images on behalf of those affected, equalling a 90% takedown rate.

“We hope that every person affected by this feels some small sense of closure today, we know that their priority is the removal of this content. We will continue to work in the weeks and months ahead to report this content and we would encourage anyone with any concerns about their own images to get in touch with us and we will do everything we can to offer advice and support.”

A second defendant Kirsty Nicholls, 36, of Northolt, Middlesex, also admitted offences.

She knew Elahi from a sugar daddy website and together they admitted two sexual assaults against a child and both admitted making indecent images of the child.

She was sentenced to six years and nine months.

Anybody who believes they may have been a victim of Elahi, or have information on his offending can contact the NCA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

10 December 2021