Cycling pervert who abused kids on Myanmar trip and snapped children 34 years ago still being probed
A DEPRAVED "sex tourist" who went on a abuse frenzy of poverty-stricken children after a guided cycling tour of Myanmar has been jailed for six years.
Christopher Behn, 66, admitted ten sex offences against school boys as young as five at a beach resort in the south-east Asian country at Chelmsford Crown Court after he was identified by his distinctive cycling gloves and watch that he wore during some of the abuse.
Behn, from Colchester, Essex, was convicted of taking indecent images of children more than 30 years ago in 1987, but escaped a jail term.
The court heard he took a group of boys into woodland and took indecent images of them.
But, he was sentenced to just three months in prison and the term was suspended for two years.
The court heard an National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into his activities continues, but no further details were given.
He was arrested in February 2020 at Gatwick Airport on unrelated matters, but the CPS would not divulge what this was in respect of.
Prosecuting, Tom Nicholson, said the NCA did not want his laptop destroyed at this stage.
He said: "There is a continuing investigation, so we do not ask for forfeiture and destruction, but for it to be retained by the NCA as part of its investigatory powers." During the recent offending, Behn spent several nights in the Ngapali Beach area (pictured above) of the country after completing a 13-day guided cycling and sightseeing tour. It was over four days that he sought out and took indecent images of 11 boys aged five to nine who were paid by him mostly during their lunch breaks to "gratify his depraved sexual cravings," the court heard. On one day he photographed three boys aged from six to eight who he got to expose themselves to the camera, including one in school uniform, and a fourth child who appeared to have been snapped covertly by Behn. Two days later he took indecent photographs of two other boys aged seven to eight, one of which seemed to be aware of what was happening. The next day Behn photographed five boys aged from five to nine exposing themselves. He also took several pictures of himself sexually abusing the five year-old, but only his hand was visible in some of the images. A CPS case summary said: "Behn’s predatory offending can be seen to escalate over the four days between November 21 to 24 2016. "Indecent images taken on the first day spanned 45 minutes, while two days later it lasted three hours. On the fourth day, when the sex abuse was photographed, it lasted five hours. The report added: "Taking the time difference, (9.5 hours), into account indicates the majority of the images were taken around lunchtime at locations along the beach where Behn would have known local school children would congregate during their lunch breaks. "The life-long trauma inflicted on these children can only be imagined – a predatory paedophile who targeted and exploited some of the world’s most vulnerable impoverished young children to gratify his depraved sexual cravings." Behn's offending in November 2016 only came to light when he was arrested in connection with the unrelated matter as he arrived at Gatwick Airport on February 3 2020. He refused to provide passwords to any electronic devices, but National Crime Agency (NCA) officers later seized a laptop during a search of his home. There were 4,015 photographs found on the hard drive, which had been taken during the trip from November 5 to November 25, most of which were standard sightseeing pictures. However, officers found 265 indecent images of the 11 children, including 241 of category C, the least serious type, and 24 of category B, which showed actual sex abuse taking place. The images had been taken by Behn as he abused the children at the beach resort, but none showed his face. Behn was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a child under 13, taking indecent photographs of children and inciting children under 13 to commit sexual activity, on March 11 this year, but he declined to comment during interview. None of the sex abuse images captured Behn's face, but he was snared by the cycling gloves and wrist watch he wore as he abused the five-year-old. The CPS summary of the case said: "A distinctive fingerless cycling glove is worn by the adult male, together with a silver coloured wrist watch also being evident. "The distinctive cycling glove is an identical match to those which can be seen being worn by the defendant in a non-indecent image taken on the same day, and also, taken on November 15 2016. "A similar looking silver coloured gents wristwatch can be seen being worn by the defendant on his left wrist in both images." The second image had been taken by another member of the cycling tour. The summary added: "Of the fifteen other members of the Myanmar 2016 Guided Cycle Tour the following have all provided witness statements, and in some cases photographs taken by them during their 2016 tour in Myanmar which feature the defendant, Christopher Behn." Behn was then charged with the offences and appeared at Colchester Magistrates' Court earlier this month. Last month Behn admitted one count of sexually touching a boy aged 5 on November 24 2016, seven counts of inciting boys aged from five to nine to show intimate areas and two counts of making 241 category C and 24 category B indecent images of children.
Mr Nicholson said: "What is common to all of these victims is the defendant could exert his power as a wealthy tourist in the area over them given his age."
There was a significant degree of planning and the sexual images were recorded and retained over the four years." Defending, Kevin Toomey, said: "This is a man who accepts he has had a longstanding problem, but a problem that had not led to him offending apart from in 1987 with the indecent images and then 2016."He argued his age meant he was less of a risk.
He added: "He is a retired engineer who has lost numerous friends. He has been for 40 years in the local gun club and has lost his firearms licence, but that is his fault." Judge Chris Morgan said: "You are a sexual tourist who travelled to the Far East. "You went to Myanmar which has featured in the news on a consistent basis in the last few years and a country where young children and adults are vulnerable by their circumstances, both social and economic. "You were seen as a wealthy tourist and therefore expected a small inducement to a child which may have been rejected here, but of significant value to children over there. All of your victims, those you took pictures of and sexually assaulted, were aged five to nine and particularly vulnerable and young. "You committed these offences for your own sexual gratification. "You are a man who had a previous conviction which arose by taking a number of boys into a wood and photographing them. "You are a dangerous offender and there is a significant risk in the future you will commit specified sexual offences leading to risk or harm and serious harm to those you come into contact with." He jailed him for six years, but he will only serve two-thirds of the sentence, meaning he could be out after four. However, he was given an extended licence period of a further six years, meaning he could be brought back to serve the full 12 years if he were to reoffend. He was also placed under an indefinite sexual offence prevention order, but details of it were not released in court.
Graham Ellis, NCA Operations Manager, said: “Behn is a predator who sexually abused vulnerable children. “He manipulated them and forced them in front of the camera for his own sick gratification.
“Travelling sex offenders like Behn think that by conducting their abuse in a remote part of the world away from home, they won’t get caught. “However, borders are not a barrier and the NCA works closely with international partners to ensure Britons committing offences abroad are prosecuted in the UK.”
Giorgina Venturella, CPS Organised Crime Division Specialist Prosecutor, said: “The crimes that Christopher Behn committed against underage boys in Myanmar were depraved.
"Behn used his position of power to purposefully seek out vulnerable young local boys with the intention of sexually abusing and exploiting them.
“These children were deliberately posed and photographed by Behn; and Behn’s behaviour clearly escalated in severity over the course of his stay.
“Behn’s abuse and exploitation will affect his victims for their whole lives. I urge anyone who has been abused to report it so that justice can be served, whether the offences have been committed in UK or abroad.”
Under the sexual offence prevention order Behn is prohibited from: *Using any internet enabled device unless it’s internet history can be examined
*Deleting internet history
*Installing browser software which can access the dark web
*Using an application which features destruction of messages e.g. Snapchat
*Installing or using evidence elimination software
*Use of VPN or Proxy services
*Communicating via the internet with anyone believed to be under 16 unless for lawful purposes and guardians have consented (knowing of the convictions)