Essex pensioner who abused 11 children in Myanmar jailed

A “predatory” retiree who sexually abused 11 children in Myanmar after travelling to the country for a guided cycling tour has been jailed.

Christopher Behn, 66, was found in possession of more than 250 indecent images of children on his laptop, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

He was sentenced to six years in prison at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday after previously pleading guilty to a series of child sexual offence charges.

Prosecutors said Behn, from Essex, had flown to Myanmar in 2016 under the premise of attending a cycling tour.

After the tour, he travelled to the Nagapali Beach area where he stayed for four days.

The CPS said this is where Behn sought out vulnerable local boys, intending to sexually abuse them before he returned to the UK on November 25.

It said Behn took indecent photos of 11 unidentified boys from Myanmar under the age of 13.

He also sexually assaulted one of the youngsters and recorded it in a series of images, the CPS said.

The National Crime Agency said officers found 265 indecent images of the children, aged between five and nine, on Behn’s laptop, which he had taken himself.

In some, the boys has been instructed to pose naked or partially clothed, while in others it was clear the children were unaware of photos being taken.

Many of the images were taken at spots on the beach where Behn knew children would congregate at lunchtime, the NCA said.

The agency said Behn, a retired engineer, was a subject of interest in a wider NCA investigation when he was arrested at Gatwick Airport in February last year.

Investigators seized his laptop and a GPS device – used for mapping cycling routes – for forensic analysis.

Data from these devices proved Behn had flown to Myanmar in November 2016 for the cycling tour, before moving on to Nagapali Beach, the NCA said.

Behn was charged with eight counts of causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, one of sexually assaulting a child under 13, and two counts of taking indecent images of children, the NCA said.

He pleaded guilty to all charges in June of this year.

He was sentenced to six years in prison and a further six on extended licence, and will also be subject to a sexual harm prevention order, the NCA said.

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.”

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.”

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