The American detective who helped snare a dangerous predator from 8,000 miles away today gave a chilling insight into the mind of a “prolific” criminal.
As reported in Friday’s Gazette, Alexander Mackay, of Ventnor Road, was jailed for eight years after admitting a string of child sex offences when he was rumbled by the undercover officer posing as one of his victims online.
Preston Crown Court heard last week he targeted four underage girls – all thought to be in the United States – by threatening them into sending him indecent images of themselves over the internet.
Police say they will never know the true scale of the 42-year-old’s offending.
Officers from Boise Police Department, in Idaho, who were the first to learn of the abuse, identified around 50 possible victims during the course of the investigation. Some they were unable to contact, while others wanted no part in the inquiry.
Det Jason Pietrzak, of Boise Police Department, exchanged messages with Mackay as part of a sting operation to catch him in the act.
The one Boise child who came forward – she was the only Idaho victim I’m aware of – by her coming forward at the young age she was, she has got the abuse to stop for a lot of children
He told The Gazette: “Unfortunately, a number of them, when I would speak to their parents, they wanted no part of the investigation, which is understandable.
“The one Boise child who came forward – she was the only Idaho victim I’m aware of – by her coming forward at the young age she was, she has got the abuse to stop for a lot of children.”
“Her family gave me permission to assume her identity. She had a lot of things she had erased and I was able to preserve for evidence everything he did.
“He threatened and tried to blackmail this child into doing what she was forced to do.
“He was aggressive and controlling, a prolific and dangerous man.”
Mackay threatened to post online the indecent pictures and videos he received from his victims if they did not send more.
Eventually, Det Pietrzak, posing as the young girl, was able to convince him to send one of the videos as proof his threats were genuine.
“He sent me a video of this child,” he said. “It was very old.
“He kept everything he ever received.”
From there, police were able to track Mackay down to Blackpool, at which point local police were brought in.
The resort’s Awaken team, which deals in child sexual exploitation, helped build the case that saw him arrested in October 2012.
While the judge at Preston Crown Court was full of praise for the Boise Police Department for their careful handling of the complex investigation, Det Pietrzak insisted the credit lies with Blackpool Police and the young victim who was brave enough to report the abuse to her parents.
It was only when they passed the information to police in the autumn of 2012 that Mackay’s offending came to light.
Preston Crown Court heard his offending had stopped by the time he was caught. He had no previous convictions. But Judge Pamela Badley, who said Macky had committed “grave” offences, sentenced him to eight years in jail.
He had pleaded guilty to 14 charges, including causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, making indecent images of children and one offence of distribution.
He will be on the Sex Offender’s Register for life and subject to a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely.