Adam Robert Corden Britton, 51, began sexually abusing dogs in 2014 and tortured more than 42 dogs until his arrest in April last year. Out of the 42, 39 dogs died, an Australian court said on Monday.
Britton worked as a zoologist and crocodile specialist in NT and once hosted David Attenborough on his property during the filming of the Bafta-winning BBC docuseries Life in Cold Blood.
Britton used to film himself torturing the animals and then posted videos of on online platforms using pseudonyms, where he also accessed child abuse material.
One of the videos he circulated on online forums was sent to the Northern Territory (NT) Animal Welfare Branch and then passed on to the NT police who arrested Britton in April last year.
Britton pleaded guilty to 56 counts in the NT Supreme Court on Monday. He also pleaded guilty to four counts of accessing and transmitting child abuse material.
NT chief justice Michael Grant offered members of the public gallery, security staff and media the opportunity to leave the court before prosecutor Marty Aust read out the agreed facts of the charges against Britton.
“These facts contain material that can only be described as grotesque and perverse acts of cruelty which is confronting and distressing and which in my assessment have the potential to cause nervous shock,” prosecutor Marty Aust said.
“Either way I’ll leave that up to you, but the potential has been described.”
Details of the case have not been made public due to the graphic nature of the crimes by Britton, who was an academic at the Charles Darwin University.
“The offender has had a sadistic sexual interest in animals and in particular dogs,” Mr Aust said.
Britton often “built a rapport with the dog owners in negotiating taking custody of their animals, many of whom had to reluctantly give their pets away due to travel or work commitments”.
Britton has been remanded in custody since his arrest in April 2022. He will return to court in December for his sentencing.
If you are a child and you need help because something has happened to you, you can call the NSPCC free of charge on 0800 1111. You can also call the NSPCC if you are an adult and you are worried about a child, on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adults on 0808 801 0331.