Met Police is accused by the BBC of doing ‘little to stop’ British paedophile
A British paedophile ‘preacher’ on the run overseas is still at large despite evidence he has abused potentially ‘hundreds’ of children in a ‘wholesale, industrial scale’, a former prosecutor has told the BBC.
Daniel Erickson-Hull, now 46, from Plaistow, London, was jailed in 2017 after being convicted of making and possessing hundreds of indecent images of children.
After being released later that year, he was supposed to sign the sex offenders’ register, was subject to an order banning him from unsupervised contact with children, and was barred from travelling abroad without informing authorities.
He ignored these restrictions and relocated to Bulgaria, where he has been living in a deprived Roma neighbourhood called Nadezdha.
Erickson-Hull was first exposed by File On 4 in 2019. Now, three years later, journalist Paul Kenyon has revisited the case and revealed how, despite evidence from the BBC, a former devotee and Erickson-Hull’s own sister, the paedophile remains at large and the Metropolitan Police has done ‘little to stop him’.
When Kenyon first met Erickson-Hull, he was posing as a youth pastor.
The 2019 footage of the journalist confronting the paedophile went viral and showed the BBC crew were chased away by a mob of his teenage followers, revealing just how deep his ties in the community went.
Following the story, an American follower named Dawn Gibbs, who had travelled from Houston, Texas, to work with Erickson-Hull, decided to confront the so-called pastor. When she walked into his room, she found him in bed with two boys.
‘I looked at the bed and there’s Daniel and one boy is facing him, face-to-face, spooning him, and another boy was spooning him from the rear,’ she recalled, as she told her story for the first time.
‘The boys immediately jumped out of the bed… There was lots of shouting from the boys. Daniel just sat in the bed like nothing was going on.’
Soon afterwards, Dawn decided to leave. When she went to say her goodbyes to the children she discovered just how many boys had been abused.
‘This young man interrupts the conversation to say, ”We f****d Daniel. He continued to tell me “yes, don’t you know Daniel is gay? We f****d him”.
‘I told them this was very serious and that I was going to need to speak to Daniel.’
In that room, approximately 15 claimed to have been abused by Erickson-Hull. Some of them told her their little brothers had been preyed upon.
The youngest boy Dawn heard from was 10 years old.
She said: ‘He was just a small, young boy who had one of the worst allegations – that Daniel was performing oral sex on him. Often.’
Dawn decided to confront Erickson-Hull again and question him about the allegations.
‘I questioned him and he denied it all and told me the children were possessed by demons,’ she explained. ‘He was amused. He was laughing it off.’
Ms Gibbs says she told the Metropolitan Police about his actions but did not receive a reply.
Soon after the original File On 4 investigation was broadcast, Bulgarian police raided his apartment and found him with six children.
He was charged with abusing eight boys under 16 and was taken to prison to await trial. While he was in custody, the Roma community came together to protest against his arrest.
One anonymous witness, who originally alerted the BBC to the case, explained Erickson-Hull’s manipulation extended to the victims’ parents and communities.
He used the money he received from well-intentioned people from around the world to keep the struggling community afloat, either by giving them cash, or by buying essentials and household goods.
‘With the amount of money that he had, he was able to buy the families, literally buy the whole communities,’ the witness said.
While he was in prison awaiting trial, Erickson-Hull gave his sister, Anna, access to his YouTube account so she could continue to raise funds. Through this, Anna gained access to her brother’s Google account and Google search history.
‘I have never been so sick and shocked,’ she told File On 4. ‘Nothing could have prepared me for this. Nothing. The things that he had been looking at for years.
‘It was teenage boys, it was tweens, so it got younger. It was Gypsy boys. It was boys having sex with their parents. It was awful. It was so much. It was children having sex. There were chat rooms… and it was all young boys.’
Anna notified the Metropolitan Police and gave them access to his search history and waited for them to act.
The case against Erickson-Hull eventually collapsed when all eight alleged victims withdrew their statements.
The anonymous witness, called ‘John’ in the radio programme, had previously contacted the Metropolitan Police to make them aware of the case and ensure British authorities were ready to act in case the Bulgarian case collapsed.
The Met responded to say: ‘The contact that I have at the British Embassy for the National Crime Agency is very keen to not leave any gaps so that, should the worst happen and we be in a position to extradite him if the Bulgarian investigation went badly wrong.’
Yet when Erickson-Hull was released without charge, the Metropolitan Police did not act, even after the witness contacted the force to inform them of the case collapsing.
The Met has powers to investigate UK child sex offenders they suspect of abuse abroad under Section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act. However an investigation has not taken place.
Nazir Afzal, a former national lead prosecutor for child abuse cases at the Crown Prosecution Service, told File On 4: ‘This is grooming on an industrial scale.
‘He’s manipulated these young children into thinking what they’re doing is right in some way. When in actual fact, he is simply abusing them. And doing so to multiple children, multiple times.
‘It would not surprise me if we’re talking about hundreds of people having been abused by this particular suspect. And I don’t know how anyone can simply “this is a matter for Bulgarian authorities”.
‘This is a British citizen, a British citizen for whom we still remain responsible. We cannot allow him to continue to put children in danger in the way that he has done, as certainly, the way the evidence suggests.’
Daniel Erickson-Hull remains a free man and is still active on social media.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: ‘We would encourage anyone who has information about suspected offences in London to contact the Metropolitan Police.
‘If offences reported to us are alleged to have taken place in a different country then we will share this with the relevant police force.
‘We are not aware of any new Metropolitan Police investigations in this case.’
Mr Afzal believes this is simply not good enough.
He said: ‘The police statement is a dereliction of duty when it comes to a British citizen whom we’ve already convicted, whom we’ve allowed to use the country, whom appears to be abusing children on a wholesale, industrial scale in a very vulnerable community in Bulgaria. And we’re simply saying “well it’s not our problem”.
‘Well, the Bulgarians tried to prosecute. How well they tried is a moot point now because he was not convicted but the evidence points to the fact that this behaviour is continuing and we have a duty.’
Ms Gibbs added: ‘I completely feel it is the responsibility of the English police to reach out to me. I am just so bothered and upset that he’s allowed to be out…
‘I have information that could put Daniel Erickson-Hull back behind bars. They should come and see me, or speak to me, I would be happy and glad to give them an account of what happened. I have nothing to hide.’
On-the-run British paedophile confronted as he’s found living alongside children
An on-the-run British paedophile has been discovered living in Bulgaria after a BBC investigation.
Daniel Erickson-Hull, from Plaistow in east London, was confronted by journalist Paul Kenyon, who demanded to know why he was surrounded by “unaccompanied children”.
Erickson-Hull was jailed in 2017 after downloading hundreds of explicit images of children.
BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 found the shamed pastor, who was 41 when he was convicted, living among a Roma community in Sliven.
After serving a 15-month sentence, he was handed an order making it illegal for him to have any contact with children without supervision.
n a clip recorded for the programme, Mr Kenyon is seen saying to Erickson-Hull: “You’re a paedophile on the run, aren’t you?”
He responds: “No.”
The journalist continues: “Yes, you are on the run, and you’re a paedophile.”
Erickson-Hull states: “I most certainly am not a paedophile.”
Confronted about being with unaccompanied children, Mr Kenyon says: “What do you have to say for yourself, because you know that you’re breaching two orders by being here, and this is totally unacceptable isn’t it?”
As the paedophile walks away, Mr Kenyon says: “The judge said you can go to prison for a very long time.”
While closing a door behind him, Erickson-Hull says: “No, he didn’t.”
The paedophile was described as a “danger to children” during his 2017 trial, the journalist revealed.
But the BBC team had to retreat after being chased away by people throwing rocks, Mr Kenyon said.
On the show, Met Police DC Steve Fitzpatrick said he was “horrified” that Erickson-Hull is now living a new life in Bulgaria.
He said: “The relevant authorities have been contacted, but it appears that they are not asking the questions we would like them to ask.”
According to the BBC, all police in Bulgaria can do is monitor Erickson-Hull because his court breaches are not recognised as a crime.
Research by File on 4 found that there are 559 sex offenders whose whereabouts is not known.
Bird-watching pastor jailed for child sex images
A PASTOR has been jailed after admitting having sexual images of children on his computer.
Daniel Erickson-Hull lead services at Higher Ground Church in Smeaton Road, Woodford Green, where he was better known as “Pastor D”.
The 41-year-old, of Prince Regent Lane, Plaistow, admitted making and possessing indecent images of children and was sentenced to one year and three months in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday (May 5).
He was also known in the community for the “Redbridge Birdwatching” site he started in 2010 to keep track of bird sightings across the borough.