Web geek with 400 child abuse photos ran roleplay site ‘full of kids’

Web geek with 400 child abuse photos ran roleplay site ‘full of kids’

April 22, 2019

A university dropout behind a dark web site ran an online gaming world "full of kids" despite being found with hundreds of child abuse images on his laptop.

Thomas White, 24, ran Silk Road 2.0 – an illicit site which specialised in supplying class A and B drugs.

The former accounting student told a Silk Road 2.0 admin he wanted to set up a paedophiles’ website "because there is money to be made from these people".

When National Crime Agency officers raided White's luxury flat in Liverpool, they discovered a laptop under his bed which contained 464 indecent images of children, Liverpool Echo reports.

These sickening images were graded category A, the most severe classification available for images of child sexual abuse.

Despite possessing hundreds of indecent images of children and planning on launching a secure paedophile site, White had access to 'a lot of kids' through an online gaming community.

Using the alias 'Vaffla', White ran uTopia RP – an online roleplay site for fans of the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) computer game .

One player from the Grand Theft Auto gaming community claims the site was 'full of kids' and that 'a lot of kids looked up to him'.

White made himself head admin of the GTA roleplay site – and that his role put him in a position of authority where he managed children aged between 12 and 18.

In a post seen by Liverpool Echo, 'Vaffla' (understood to be White), resigned from his position on the forum the day before he was sentenced to five years and four months behind bars.

The post said: "As I mentioned in my post when I took over management, I did not intend to stay in this position for too long. Unfortunately the illness of somebody very close to me has expedited this process, and tonight will be my final night as management, allowing me to spend what time I have left with him."

In a statement shared with the ECHO, the National Crime Agency said: "We are aware of the user name ‘Vaffla’ as part of our investigation into Thomas White. However, we did not come across any inappropriate behaviour in relation to gaming sites." 

While White was caught with hundreds of indecent images of children and spoke of plans to launch a secure site for paedophiles, his GTA rolepay world was built on a number of rules.

One warns users against 'malicious attacks', saying: "Roleplaying sexual assault (such as non-consensual touching, rape, etc.) is not allowed."

Another rule stated: "Nudity – Character models with nudity are permitted, but please keep in mind that people do stream. In addition, you can and will be arrested for indecent exposure."

White pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, money laundering and making 464 category A indecent images of children. He was sentenced to five years and four months in prison at Liverpool Crown Court on April 12.

Self-taught computer whizz White took over the running of the notorious dark web site Silk Road after the FBI closed it in 2013.

White, who left his accounting degree at Liverpool John Moores University after a single term, was an administrator of the Silk Road. But within a month of its shutdown he launched Silk Road 2.0.

Like the original site, it used technology to allow users to anonymously buy and sell drugs, computer hacking tools and other illegal goods, using the digital currency bitcoin.

Although he had no legitimate income, White paid £10,700 up front to rent his plush apartment on Liverpool’s waterfront.

Though investigators can’t be sure how much money he made, around $96m of goods were traded on Silk Road 2.0. from which White took between 1 and 5% commission on each sale from the tens of thousands of users.

White, who used aliases ‘St Evo’ and ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’, ran Silk Road 2.0 from November 2013 to March 2014.

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