A PAEDOPHILE has been convicted of abusing children in the Philippines in a case a detective has called the “most horrific” he has ever seen.

Dad-of-six David Francis Shepherd videoed himself abusing children as young as eight as part of a string of sex crimes, which included four offences of raping a child.

The offences emerged after police searched the Loders Arms near Bridport, where he was living as pub landlord in November last year.

Shepherd was convicted of 13 charges, including four offences of raping a child under 13, three of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two of taking indecent photographs of a child, assault of a child under 13 by penetration, arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and attempted rape, following a trial at Dorchester Crown Court.

The defendant, a mariner who reached the rank of master, was cleared of a number of other charges.

Before the trial, he admitted inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, four counts of making indecent photographs of a child, four charges of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and one count of paying for sexual services of a child.

The offences occurred between April 2011 and November 2015. Shepherd will be sentenced this month.

After his arrest, Shepherd told police: “I know what you’re talking about, I’ve been chatting on the internet but I’ve never followed it through.”

Analysis of the defendant’s laptop revealed several thousand indecent images and movies featuring children, with one file containing some 8,500 images, as well as pictures featuring Shepherd and images apparently taken by him.

Shepherd’s passport was also seized and showed various trips to the Philippines.

He claimed he had travelled to the country because his wife was there.

However, prosecutors said Shepherd had paid to abuse children.

In later interviews,Shepherd denied having sexual contact with any of the children, telling officers: “If I was to have sex with a child I would probably kill myself.”

Reporting restrictions were in force during the trial, as Shepherd had been facing a number of other contested charges.

However, following the verdicts, the defendant admitted nine further charges of arranging or facilitating the commission of child sex offences and two counts of making indecent photos of a child.

He will be sentenced this month, Detective Constable David Baker from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team said: “This is the most horrific case of child abuse that I have had any dealings with.

“Shepherd is an individual who presents a serious risk and danger to young children.” For many years he has used the internet to commit live sexual abuse, which he recorded.

“Such was Shepherd’s arrogance of his offending he pleaded not guilty despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

“The evidence showed harrowing images of young children being abused and degraded in the most vile manner.”