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How police caged sick paedophile who paid women to abuse toddlers as he watched online
Det Con Darren White awarded after painstaking work saw Devon man jailed and Philippine children rescued
A detective scoured through more than a hundred hours of appalling sexual abuse of children and babies in the Philippines to ensure a Devon paedophile was brought to justice.
Police discovered 39-year-old Alain Charlwood-Collings had paid women in Manila to abuse children as young as two-years-old while he recorded them at his home in Tiverton.
Devon and Cornwall Police officer Detective Constable Darren White has now been recognised for his relentless investigation into Collings’ sick crimes, ensuring the pervert was handed a long jail sentence.
Det Con White discovered how for around two years Collings had encouraged women he knew in the Philippines capital to carry out the assaults for his twisted desires in exchange for money.
The investigation, titled Operation Aero, discovered that more than £33,000 was transferred over to recipients in the Philippines by Collings to pay for the sexual abuse.
A team of officers monitored websites which revealed Collings’ IP address was accessing and downloading images from.
This in turn resulted in the discovery of over 100 hours of recorded abuse in 107 individual files. Amongst the 2,000 images, pictures also showed Charlwood-Collings abusing a child.
To build a watertight case and to ensure all the victims were rescued, Det Con White analysed 102 hours of “live abuse footage” all which had been recorded on Skype by Collings.
In addition he also had to trawl through half a million lines of Skype communication.
The officer said one of the hardest elements of the international investigation was recovering all the vile footage from Skype and then the “minute by minute analysis” of the systematic abuse.
Despite the harrowing and disturbing footage he had to view, Det Con White endeavoured to get screen grabs of each of the 46 Philippine children being abused – and the two co-offenders who carried out the sick abuse at Collings’ behest.
In addition Det Con White enlisted the support of an anatomy expert from the University of Dundee, who was able to match images of adult hands in the abuse pictures to the suspect.
Further analysis identified the hands of the suspect’s former partner in the Philippines.
He said: “What I was able to do over the course of many months and hundreds of hours of analysing that footage was slowly but surely match the children’s names to those that we could see being abuse in that footage and also the two Philippine female co-offenders.
“Anatomical analysis of individual’s hands depicted in abuse footage and images led to the conviction of Charlwood-Collings.”
Despite the overwhelming evidence, Collings refused to co-operate with police, but eventually pleaded guilty at court.
At his sentencing, held at Exeter Crown Court, the judge said Collings’ behaviour was “abhorrent” and “some of the worst I have ever come across”.
Collings himself was handed an 18-year prison sentence on May 12, 2017.
Det Con White then worked with the National Crime Agency and the Home Office to transfer investigative material to the Philippines, and briefed the Filipino Minister of Justice.
He said: “That really started us on phase two of our investigation and that was now having all this information relating to the 46 victims in the Philippines who at that time I was confident were very likely to still be the subject of ongoing sexual abuse.
“It ultimately resulted in me flying over to the Philippines in February 2018 where I was able to give evidence in court and validate all the prosecution material from the investigation I conducted in the UK.”
A few days later, as a result of this warrant, the National Bureau of Investigations Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD) arrested three suspected traffickers – two women and a man – which resulted in thirteen victims, including nine children aged between four and 17 and four adult victims, aged 19 and 24, being rescued and taken into care by local authorities for safeguarding.
Det Con White said the warrant saw officers execute two search warrants in two separate villages and two of the identified female Philippine offenders were arrested and subsequently put in jail.
He said: “More importantly, multiple victims were positively identified on the day by me and the identification work carried out in the UK, and they were rescued and taken into the care of protective services.
“Looking beyond the offenders in this case what was most important for me was the rescuing of the 46 children all of whom now, I can confidently say, have been removed from what was an abusive and coercive environment.
“I think there’s two sides to any public protection officers’ aim and that is to bring offenders to justice but sometimes, and more importantly, to rescue the victims of that abuse.”
In response to his remarkable efforts to see justice done, the perpetrators jailed and young victims rescued from further harm, Det Con White was handed the “Smarter Detective of the Year” award at the Police Federation’s National Detectives’ Forum for his tenacity and drive to progress the investigaiton.
The awards are an annual event which recognises the achievements of investigators working on some of the most complex and difficult cases, often involving the very worst of human nature.
On receiving the award, Det Con White – who is now a sergeant on the Isles of Scilly – said: “I’m surprised and very humbled at the recognition really.
“For what started out two years ago as an average job, who would have known it would’ve taken me to the other side of the world rescuing children.”