A man employed as a researcher at the University of Birmingham has been sentenced to 32 years in prison – after being found guilty of countless offences which ‘ruined’ the lives of victims. Matthew Falder, 29, was a Cambridge graduate, but led a secret double life where he subjected 46 victims to hell. Over the course of his actions, he racked up a sickening 137 abuse charges. Falder was eventually brought to justice when an international task force finally caught him. Read on for more details.
Falder moved to the University of Birmingham in 2016 to take a up a role as a researcher. He was employed as a ‘Geophysicist and Seismic Oceanographer’. By this time however he had already been offending undetected for many years. Falder used Gumtree to pretend to be a woman, asking young girls for topless or suggestive photos. He coerced victims in a range of ways, such as offering to buy something they wanted in exchange, or suggesting the image was inspiration for artwork (s)he would be doing.
Once he received photos, the victim would be contacted again, being told that if they didn’t send more images, that the original picture would be shared with their friend’s and family. Unfortunately, this would continue. As the demands continued, they got more and more degrading. Some victims were forced to self-harm, others held up degrading signs. Falder would share these images on the dark web. He used several encrypted email addresses to evade capture. As you can imagine, his victims were put in a horrible position.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies had been alerted to an individual on the dark web sharing photos of graphic nature. An investigation that saw a global taskforce try and bring Falder to justice finally caught him following years of trying. In the trial, victims shared their stories, with some revealing they had attempted suicide. Falder admitted 137 charges – including making and distributing indecent images of children, sexual exploitation of a child, voyeurism and rape. There were 46 victims.
Many were left sickened by Falder’s actions. Falder had a privileged upbringing in Cheshire, and had studied at Cambridge University. He graduated with an Undergraduate and Masters degree, as well as a PhD. Cambridge University released a statement suggesting they were ‘actively’ attempting to strip Falder of his qualifications. Falder had no criminal record prior to this case. During his trial, he showed no emotion, and was rightfully convicted. A sentence of 32 years however seems lenient, given the pain he caused.
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It is very worrying for students at the University of Birmingham to know that someone as evil as Falder was walking among them on the campus for so long. Thankfully, justice has prevailed in this case, albeit too late for some. There have long been concerns regarding the dark web, where individuals like Falder seem to spend their time.
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