LONDON: The man who raped, tortured and killed Richard Huckle, described as “Britain’s worst ever paedophile”, has been given a life sentence, and will have to serve at least 34 years in prison, British media reported on Tuesday (Nov 24).
Paul Fitzgerald – a fellow inmate at a high security prison near York in the United Kingdom – beat, stabbed and strangled Huckle to death on Oct 13, 2019.
Huckle, 33, had been convicted of sexually abusing children in Malaysia, and was serving 22 concurrent life sentences for his crimes.
Fitzgerald, now 30, suffers from medical conditions such as psychopathy, anti-social personality disorder and gender identity disorder, and was himself was in prison for sexual assault, the BBC reported. He has a history of violent and sexual offences dating back to when he was 13-years-old.
Fitzgerald called his attack on Huckle “poetic justice” for the crimes the latter committed against children.
According to British tabloid Metro, Fitzgerald said: “This is a man who rapes and abuses children for fun. He could have killed them as well. I’m inclined to think he did worse than just raping them.”
Details of Fitzgerald’s brutal 78-minute attack on Huckle emerged during the trial.
Fitzgerald first tied Huckle up before raping him, assaulting him with a variety of weapons, including a kitchen utensil and a pen, and strangling him with an electrical cable sheath, Metro reported. Fitzgerald had said he also wanted to eat parts of Huckle’s body.
Prosecutor Alistair MacDonald said: “The insertion of an object into his anus, and possibly into his brain as well, was, say the prosecution, a form of punishment associated with the offending which had led Mr Huckle to prison.”
“This was a carefully planned and executed attack, in the course of which Mr Huckle had been subjected to a prolonged attack also designed to humiliate and degrade him.”
Fitzgerald denied the murder charge, claiming that his mental health issues had prevented him from exercising self-control, though he expressed his enjoyment of the attack.
During sentencing at the Hull Crown Court, judge Justice Lavender told Fitzgerald he had “taken the law into his own hands” and said: “You are a psychopath and you derive pleasure from fantasising about raping, torturing, killing and even eating others. On this occasion you derived pleasure from acting out your fantasies.”
The trial lasted four days and it took jurors about an hour to reach the guilty verdict on Monday.
Fitzgerald reportedly laughed as he was sentenced.
Between 2006 and 2014, Huckle posed as a freelance photographer, English teacher and volunteer working with Christian communities to gain access mostly to impoverished communities in Kuala Lumpur.
His victims were between six months and 12 years old.
At his trial in 2016, Huckle pleaded guilty to 71 offences involving 22 children, but it is thought there were many more child victims across Southeast Asia.
An Australian detective unit eventually discovered his activities in an encrypted room on the “dark web”, where members exchanged child sex abuse images and tips.
Huckle was arrested at London’s Gatwick Airport in December 2014 as he returned home from Malaysia to spend Christmas with his parents.
He was carrying a heavily encrypted computer and camera that contained more than 20,000 images of child sex abuse – over 1,000 of which showed him committing offences including rape.
The laptop also contained a ledger in which he detailed the abuse of 191 victims, but officers were unable to press charges on all cases as there was no photographic evidence.
Huckle also wrote a manual called Paedophiles And Poverty: Child Lover Guide.
During Huckle’s 2016 trial in London, judge Peter Rook said that the manuscript was a “truly evil document proselytising paedophilia”, and that Huckle had intended to publish it for profit.