Michael Williams has admitted abusing children and grooming hundreds more over the internet.
A PAEDOPHILE postman from Penryn, described as a "very dangerous offender" by the police, has admitted abusing children and grooming hundreds more over the internet.
Michael James Williams, 28, of Tresooth Lane, created different profiles on social networking sites Facebook and Bebo to lure children as young as 11. He met up with eight schoolchildren – six girls and two boys – and sexually abused them at his flat, in local parks and on beaches.
At Truro Crown Court on Friday the part-time taxi driver and active member of Falmouth Town Football Club pleaded guilty to 27 charges ranging from internet grooming, voyeurism and making indecent images to having sex with a child under the age of 16.
Staring at the floor while he stood in the dock with two photographs grasped tightly in his right hand, Mr Williams also admitted four other charges encompassing 460 other offences.
Police say children and young people from outside the county may also have been targeted by Mr Williams, but pupils from local schools were the victims of the physical assaults.
None of the sex attacks took place at either of the two schools.
Speaking outside court after the hearing Detective Inspector Simon Snell from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary described Mr Williams as a "predatory, manipulative and prolific offender".
He said: "He is a predatory paedophile who gains the trust of young people and misuses that trust."
Mr Williams used his mobile phone to groom young people while he was working as a postman.
"I have got no time for him to be honest," added Mr Snell, who described the investigation as extremely complex and sometimes disturbing.
"He was creating profiles and tricking other young people into talking with someone in their age group, when in fact he was not.
"He sent them questionnaires asking horrendous and disgusting things."
In a statement released after the hearing he added: "I hope he now understands the harm he has caused to his victims, their families and the many people who thought they could trust him.
"I hope he can reflect and if he wishes to talk to us about any other offences he must make contact."
He told how Mr Williams used several aliases on social networking sites Facebook and Bebo to lure children to engage in sexual activities. He said the parents of the victims had no idea what was going on.
The part-time taxi driver had his licence revoked when the police learned of his activities in November last year.
"This investigation started with a couple of disclosures from victims," said Mr Snell, who said the case was the biggest he had dealt with in his eight-year career.
"It wasn't until we started looking at the computers of Mr Williams that we realised he had been offending for four or five years."
Dave Ellis, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Safeguarding Children Board, said the case was still open and he expected the publicity from Mr Williams' admissions to generate more calls from victims.
He said: "I'm pleased that Williams at last has pleaded guilty which has relieved some of the stress for the children and young people.
"I don't underestimate the ongoing issues for the families. Just because today he stood up in court and pleaded guilty it isn't the end of it.
"The police are anticipating additional victims coming forward and this will be an ongoing inquiry."
Mr Snell added: "There will definitely be other victims out there who have had some type of contact with Mr Williams that we don't know about."
Mr Ellis emphasised the global nature of the internet and emphasised the importance of safety measures being put in place by parents. He said: "Cornwall is a very safe place to live but that doesn't mean that children aren't at risk every time they go on to the internet."
Mr Snell and Mr Ellis paid tribute to Children's Services, the safeguarding agencies, the small police team of local officers and the Force Child Exploitation Unit for working "tirelessely" to bring Williams to justice.
The Force High Tech Crime Unit has also forensically analysed computers, while the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Unit in London also helped with the investigation.
At the court hearing Michael Melville-Shreeve, representing Mr Williams, said the defendant needed to be assessed by a psychiatrist before he can be sentenced, expected to be in three months' time.