Aaron Joseph Hutton pleaded guilty in August last year to charges of possession of child sexual exploitation material and entering into a dealing involving the sexual exploitation of a child.
The Department of Internal Affairs said today that an extensive undercover investigation had taken place in cooperation with police over the past five years.
The DIA began their investigation in 2015, which led them in particular to a dark web user calling themselves ‘Kiwipedo’, who requested child sexual exploitation material from covert online investigators.
Kiwipedo was unknowingly messaging an undercover officer working in Australia when he suggested they should ‘kidnap one and use a basement like Fritz.
That was understood to be a reference to Austrian rapist Josef Fritzl, who kidnapped and repeatedly raped his daughter in a basement over 24 years in which she also bore some children.
The undercover detective then forwarded Kiwipedo’s details to other officers who interacted with him.
He also tried to meet with and purchase a child for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Kiwipedo mentioned to one of the detectives that he was willing to pay $15,000 in cash or bitcoin for a child under the age of seven.
The detective questioned if an Asian child would suffice and if it would draw suspicion.
‘It’s called a basement,’ Kiwipedo responded, giving another reference to Frtizl horrific crimes.
Kiwipedo messaged a third undercover detective suggesting they meet up at a motel to abuse a child.
He also suggested they exchange USBs with explicit content on them to increase their child abuse photo collection.
Over the course of months, the investigators were able to collect enough information about Hutton to successfully apply for search warrants at a business and residential address, and a number of devices were seized.
Forensic examination led to the discovery of more than 400 child exploitation images, as well as evidence that Hutton was ‘Kiwipedo’.
Tim Houston, DIA Manager of the digital child exploitation team, welcomed the conclusion of the case.