“He used the dark web to access a global community"
Psychiatrist Kabir Garg, aged 33, of London, was jailed for six years after he helped run a website dedicated to the sexual abuse of children on the dark web.
He was identified as one of the moderators of a site called ‘The Annex’, which had approximately 90,000 members and saw hundreds of links to child abuse material shared every day.
Members accessed The Annex using the dark web browser Tor.
Forty per cent of the total searches facilitated by Tor are for child sexual abuse material.
In November 2022, Garg was arrested at his flat in Lewisham as part of a coordinated operation with international partners, at a time when the site was open on his laptop with Garg logged into his moderator account.
His laptop and other devices were seized for analysis.
The Annex, which is now inactive, was run like a company and had a team of around 30 administrators, who worked in shifts around the clock.
Garg was initially a member but he dedicated time and effort to becoming sufficiently trusted to be invited to be a moderator.
He was responsible for enforcing the rules of the site and removing members who did not comply. Garg also provided advice on how to evade law enforcement, shared and encouraged other users to share links to child abuse material.
NCA officers recovered chat logs from his devices which showed posts, messages and files sent by Garg.
Over 7,000 images and videos of child abuse were also recovered, along with messages which showed him applying for and being promoted to, a site moderator rank with greater responsibility and access.
Garg also had several articles and journals on his laptop, which he had acquired as part of his job as a psychiatrist, that indicated he was well aware of the psychological impact of sexual abuse on children.
Titles included Puberty and Adolescent Sexuality, A Study on Child Abuse India and Effects and Aftermath of Rape.
In January 2023, Garg pleaded to eight charges, including facilitating the sexual exploitation of children, three counts each of making and distributing indecent images of children, and possession of prohibited images.
He was jailed for six years. Garg will also be subject to a Serious Harm Prevention Order and is on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
Adam Priestley, from the National Crime Agency, said:
“Garg was involved in facilitating child sexual abuse on a significant scale.
“He used the dark web to access a global community of paedophiles sharing and discussing horrific crimes against children.
“He then ensured he was such a trusted and respected member that he was invited to become a member of staff, involved in its daily management.
“This organisation and willingness to enable other offenders raises his criminality to a higher, more appalling level.”
“There are hundreds of thousands of members of such sites on the dark web, but few of them are prepared to commit to being a member of staff, which involves dedicating a lot of time for no payment.
“As a doctor of psychiatry, he knew full well the devastating impact and trauma that abuse causes children, but this clearly did not deter him.
“The NCA has the determination and skill to identify the most dangerous offenders who use the dark web in an attempt to hide their identity.
“We will stop at nothing to ensure they face justice and to protect children from sexual abuse.”
The FBI also arrested and convicted five men in the United States for their involvement in running the site, one of whom has been sentenced to 28 years in prison.