Online sleuths helped bring down depraved British animal abuser Adam Britton after they identified a leash in a dog torture video he posted online, it has been revealed.
The single clue led Australian police to the Darwin animal shelter owned by crocodile expert Britton, 52, where they found chopped up pets.
Britton pleaded guilty in Darwin’s Supreme Court on Monday to a string of charges relating to animal abuse, bestiality, and possession of child exploitation material.
The court heard Britton sourced about 42 dogs on Gumtree Australia – often from owners who reluctantly gave their pets away due to work commitments – for the purpose of sexually exploiting them for his own sadistic pleasure.
Britton operated two Telegram accounts called ‘monster’ and ‘Cerberus’ – the latter named after a three-headed dog in Greek mythology – from 2020 and 2022.
He used the accounts to engage with like-minded people about animal cruelty and bestiality and to share videos of the sick abuse.
However, he was the master of his own undoing when he posted a disturbing video called ‘1B***h9Pups’ to an abuse website on March 22, 2022, which revealed a clue to his identity and whereabouts that ultimately led to his downfall.
Online sleuths helped bring down depraved British animal abuser Adam Britton (pictured) after they identified a leash in a dog torture video he posted online, it has been revealed
Pictured: A stock image of a dog wearing an orange City of Darwin leash – like the one the internet sleuth spotted in Britton’s abuse video which ultimately led to his downfall
The following day, on March 23, an anonymous internet user noticed the adult female dog was wearing a distinctive orange City of Darwin-branded leash with the slogan ‘great pets start with you’.
The user alerted the Northern Territory (NT) Animal Welfare Branch to the video over email, prompting the organisation to refer the matter to the police.
On April 22, a month after he posted the video, NT Police and Australian Federal Police officers raided Britton’s home in Mcminns Lagoon, found in south Darwin.
There, detectives seized 44 items including computers, mobile phones, cameras, external hard drives, tools, weapons, dog paraphernalia and sex toys.
The prosecution said police found 15 child abuse material files on his laptop.
They also found severed dog limbs in a freezer, a decomposing puppy in a pond on the property, and a severed dog head on a neighbouring property.
Documents say Britton used a shipping container on his property and frequented various locations outside of his property to carry out the acts on the animals.
According to the documents, Britton used a Gumtree Australia application to obtain custody of many of the 42 dogs, where he often ‘built a rapport’ with the owners who ‘had to reluctantly give their pets away due to travel or work commitments’.
Britton operated two Telegram accounts under the names of Monster and Cerberus.
He would film himself hurting the defenceless animals in the container he called his ‘torture room’ – fitted with recording equipment – and use the Cerberus account to ‘upload and disseminate’ the sick material online, the court heard. ‘Using these applications, the offender discussed his “kill count”,’ prosecutor Marty Aust said.
His account had 114 threads where he described how he acquired the pets, how he abused them and how he disposed of their bodies.
The court also heard he sexually abused his own Swiss Shepherd pets, Ursa and Bolt, for almost a decade until he eventually took to Gumtree Australia to source more dogs to kill.
Setting up alerts on the site for when a new dog or puppy was listed for sale in the area, he would build a ‘rapport’ with the unsuspecting owners in order to negotiate taking custody of their dogs, prosecutor Marty Aust said.
If the pet owners reached out and asked Britton for updates on their old pets, he would spin a ‘false narrative’ to say they were healthy and send them old photos.
In one scenario, Britton sent a message to the owners of a large brown dog to reassure them the animal was ‘settling in well’.
‘Wolfe was relaxed and eating well and enjoying her new home,’ the message wrote.
But unbeknownst to the previous owners the dog had already been ‘sexually exploited, tortured and killed,’ Mr Aust said.
In 2016, Britton uploaded this photo of one of his dogs, Bolt, as a puppy. The court heard how Britton sexually abused and tortured the dog
The court heard Britton started abusing his dogs, Ursa and Bolt (pictured as an adult), in 2014
Britton not only tortured and sexually abused his own pets Ursa and Bolt (pictured together), who he created an Instagram page for, but also dogs from pet owners he had lured into his trap through the online marketplace platform Gumtree Australia
Britton (pictured centre, with his wife Erin left) once hosted Sir David Attenborough (right). There is no suggestion whatsoever that his wife knew about his offending
Britton went on to be charged with 37 counts of animal cruelty, 10 counts of raping or attempting to rape a dog, and four counts of possessing or transmitting child abuse material.
The video and descriptions of his abuse are so disturbing MailOnline has chosen not to publish it in full.
After pleading guilty to all charges on Monday, Chief Justice Michael Grant warned the press gallery that the facts of the offending detailed ‘acts that could only be described as grotesque cruelty which are both confronting and distressing’.
‘Which in my assessment have the potential to cause nervous shock or some other adverse psychological reaction to a person exposed to those details,’ he said.
Prosecutors told the court how Britton has a ‘sadistic sexual interest’ in animals, in particular dogs, since at least 2014.
The married zoologist was charged last year, but his name was suppressed by the courts to ensure media attention would not bias a jury against him.
The order was lifted after his pleaded guilty on Monday.
Britton’s wife Erin, a wildlife ranger who met Prince Harry and helped him catch a saltwater crocodile, was unaware of her husband’s disturbing fantasies and has since reportedly changed her surname.
Britton, a leading zoologist who has worked with the BBC and National Geographic on productions, stood calmly as he pleaded guilty to 47 counts of animal cruelty at the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory on Monday.
He also pleaded guilty to four counts of accessing and transmitting child abuse material, including of toddlers being forced to engage in depraved acts.
Adam Britton, 51, began his offending in 2014 and tortured and sexually exploited more than 42 dogs until his arrest in April 2022
His matter is set to return to court on December 13 for sentencing submissions.
Britton was born in Yorkshire and moved to Australia 20 years ago, and he has previously worked with the BBC and National Geographic.
Multiple reports say he hosted David Attenborough on his property as Mr Attenborough’s team filmed the Life In Cold Blood docuseries.
Britton studied at the University of Bristol and Leeds University and held a senior research associate position at Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory.
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