A ‘pupil’ of one of the most dangerous sexual predators ever investigated by the National Crime Agency has been jailed for 24 years for committing dozens of blackmail and online sex offences.

Anthony ‘Danny’ Burns targeted more than 30 victims, including in Braintree.

Burns, 39, worked with notorious online child sex offender Abdul Elahi, who was jailed for 32 years in December 2021 after targeting 2,000 people globally to commit sadistic online abuse.

Between May 2018 and March 2021, Burns used ‘sugar daddy’ websites to trap dozens of unsuspecting females into performing sexual and degrading acts by threatening them with blackmail.

One of his 35 victims was a seven-year-old girl in the US, who was abused by her mother following sustained coercion by Burns.

Burns attempted to contact approximately 600 people around the world with the intention of sexually exploiting them.

Elahi ‘tutored’ Burns on the psychology of blackmail, including techniques such as scripted wording to help gain the trust of victims, and provided instruction on how they would respond to threats and what to say to them.

Burns, originally from Lowestoft, used different online personas to ensnare his victims, including posing as the head of a model agency.

He also pretended to be a National Crime Agency (NCA) officer on one occasion.

All the victims were ordered to film themselves carrying out sexual acts in the belief they would be paid £600, but the money was never transferred.


When he had received enough explicit material, Burns threatened to expose the pictures to the victims’ families and friends unless they sent more increasingly depraved photographs and videos.

NCA officers arrested Burns in February 2019.

NCA operations manager Robert Slater said: “Anthony Burns was a revolting sexual offender.

“My first thoughts go out to his victims, many of whom showed immense courage by providing vital evidence to secure his conviction.

“The control he sought over them, some of whom were young children, was sinister, manipulative and heartless.”

The FBI aided the NCA’s investigation and helped locate victims in the United States. Most of Burns’ other victims lived in England but there were also people in the Channel Islands and Australia.

Burns was charged with 46 counts including blackmail, attempted blackmail, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, arranging the commission of a child sex offence, making and distributing indecent images of children, possessing extreme pornography and malicious communications.

He admitted 41 counts and was convicted of two more on August 30 last year at Birmingham Crown Court. The remaining charges will lie on file.

Burns was sentenced to 24 years in prison with a further five on licence at the same court today (January 19).

He will also be subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and has been placed on the sex offenders register for life.


All 35 of Burns’ victims on the indictment, aged between seven and 54, have been safeguarded.

Bethany Raine, specialist prosecutor for the CPS, said: “Anthony Burns had an obsessive interest in controlling women and children into performing increasingly degrading sexual acts online for his own gratification.

“Burns belittled and humiliated women. They became trapped in a web of fear where their own images became tools of manipulation and extortion, leaving them vulnerable to his depraved demands.

“His conviction sends a clear message that the CPS is committed in bringing offenders like Burns, who sexually abuse and exploit victims, to justice, wherever that abuse takes place.”