Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
A suspected paedophile accused of recording millions of images of himself abusing babies and young children has been siezed by police.
He also distributed the disgusting content to at least 73 other paedophiles, investigators say.
The suspect has been named only as Marcus R., 44, and he was arrested in the town of Wermelskirchen , which is located in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
One senior officer in the case who has viewed some of the evidence said: “You can’t imagine the pain and screams and the fear of these little children.”
Officials have named the suspect only as Marcus R., 44, who was arrested in December last year, with investigators only announcing the scope of his alleged offences during a press conference on Monday (30th May).
Marcus R. introduced himself to the parents of his alleged victims by offering his services as a babysitter.
Between the beginning of 2005 and mid-2019 alone, 18 acts of abuse can currently be proven, prosecutors say.
The victims currently include 10 boys and two girls aged between one month and 14 years, some of whom are said to be disabled.
One investigator said: “He got in touch with his parents via eBay classifieds, among other things.”
Investigators detained Marcus R. in December after identifying him during a separate investigation into another paedophile in August 2021, named only as Soenke G.
Soenke G. was arrested after footage and child abuse images were found on his phone during a stay in hospital.
Police in Berlin then began investigating Marcus R. after he chatted with the child abuser in the German capital online on the darknet, with the pair even allegedly abusing children together in at least three cases.
Soenke G. abused 26 boys, including babies and children with severe mental disabilities.
The youngest child was seven months old and the oldest was eight years old.
His guilty verdict listed a total of 95 acts of abuse. He reportedly sometimes covered his screaming victims’ mouths during his attacks.
Soenke G. was jailed for 12 years at the beginning of May for the particularly serious sexual abuse of children and the production of child pornography, among other charges.
Despite jailing him for more than a decade, the court decided to apply preventive detention, meaning that Soenke G. could theoretically never be released again.
The public prosecutor’s office is reportedly examining whether preventive detention can be requested against Marcus R. so that he too is never freed.
According to a psychiatric expert, Marcus R. has displayed a propensity to further acts.
It is alleged that his pronounced pedosexual disorder, “recognised for years, but not yet treated”, presents a significant risk of reoffending.
Investigators are said to have spent 17 days searching his home and securing a massive quantity of evidence, including an estimated 232 hard drives and other data storage devices, according to Cologne Chief Inspector Juergen Haese, 57.
As well as advertising himself as a babysitter Marcus R. was also reportedly placed by a non-profit group as a volunteer helper to families.
He went on excursions with children, to the zoo, for example.
According to prosecutors, it is alleged that he primarily attacked the children in his care in their homes or in public toilets.
Marcus R. also reportedly communicated with paedophile Adrian V., 29, according to North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Herbert Reul, 69.
Adrian V., from Muenster, also in North Rhine-Westphalia, was the main perpetrator in a gigantic child abuse network that made international headlines in 2019.
Regarding the case of Marcus R., police chief Falk Schnabel, 52, is quoted in German daily Bild as saying on Monday (30th May): “I only looked at a small part of what we secured.”
The disturbing content of the images, said to total 30 terabytes of data dating back to 1993, is said to defy imagination, with Schnabel saying: “I have never encountered such a level of inhuman brutality and callous indifference to the suffering of young children, to their pain, their screams and their obvious fear.”
He added: “You can’t imagine the pain and screams and the fear of these little children.”
And one unnamed investigator reportedly said: “His violent fantasies exceeded any measure of the imagination.”
Marcus R. is also alleged to have discussed violent fantasies with other perpetrators on the darknet, including some involving suffocating young children during oral sex.
At the press conference on Monday, Haese described the discovery of a hard drive that alone contained 1.5 million videos and 3.5 million images pertaining to the rape of numerous defenseless children.
The volume reportedly grew to such an extent that the prime suspect kept lists of his horrific collection.
According to senior public prosecutor Ulrich Bremer, the accused “essentially admitted” the allegations, of which is unnamed wife is said to have been unaware.
The large investigation has so far reportedly led to the identification of 73 suspects in 14 federal states in Germany, with 33 victims identified. Investigators are trying to identify and locate more perpetrators with the assistance of the suspects already in custody.
This is especially important, German media reports, as investigators have so far only been able to evaluate approximately 10 per cent of the large quantity of data they have secured.
Prosecutors assume that this huge investigation will continue to expand in scope and size, with further suspects expected to be detained and additional cases expected to be brought against them.
Chief Public Prosecutor Joachim Roth said: “The investigations show how widespread child abuse is in Germany.”