Nigel Wilkinson jailed: Rapist photographer drugged three men after luring them to photoshoots using Instagram

Nigel Wilkinson invited victims to his home for 'male fitness' photoshoots - before plying them with drink and the date rape drug Rohypnol. Photo / Avon & Somerset Police
Nigel Wilkinson invited victims to his home for 'male fitness' photoshoots - before plying them with drink and the date rape drug Rohypnol. Photo / Avon & Somerset Police

An amateur photographer who drugged and raped men after using Instagram to lure them to modelling shoots has been jailed for 11-and-a-half years, as detectives warned of "many more" potential victims.

Nigel Wilkinson, 43, met his victims on the social network before inviting them to his home for "male fitness" photoshoots.

But, once there, he would ply them with drink and drugs - including the date rape drug Rohypnol - to render them "senseless and incapable".

Nigel Wilkinson's Bristol home, from where he set up a respectable-looking online enterprise. Photo / Avon and Somerset Police
Nigel Wilkinson's Bristol home, from where he set up a respectable-looking online enterprise. Photo / Avon and Somerset Police

Wilkinson pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and three counts of administering a substance with intent to rape at Bristol Crown Court. He also admitted possession of class C drugs Flunitrazepam - known as Rohypnol - and Nitrazepam.

The court heard how he "liked to take the masculinity of straight men" and that his three victims had been left devastated by his crimes.

Detectives suspect the number of victims could run into double figures, but many were so heavily drugged they may not have realised what happened.

Judge Michael Longman told Wilkinson: "You wanted to have sex with as many attractive men as possible.

"All the victims were much younger than you and entrusted themselves to you. You abused the trust they placed in you. The whole basis of your contact with them appears to be a lie."

The court heard how Wilkinson promoted himself as a male fitness photographer and last summer set up a respectable-looking online enterprise called Wilko Photography.

He would search for victims on Instagram and invite them to his house in Bedminster, Bristol, so he could help them put together a modelling portfolio.

Police were investigating him for offences against a 19-year-old man from Kent when officers attended his home in April to arrest him and found a second victim - a 23-year-old from Gloucestershire - asleep on his sofa.

Both had traces of sedatives in their systems. The second victim had no knowledge of what had happened, but described it as "the most disgusting thing an individual can do".

During the investigation, police identified a third victim, a 19-year-old from Wiltshire, who was also found to have traces of sedatives in his system.

A bar in Nigel Wilkinson's home, where victims were so heavily drugged that they may not have realised what happened. Photo / Avon and Somerset Police
A bar in Nigel Wilkinson's home, where victims were so heavily drugged that they may not have realised what happened. Photo / Avon and Somerset Police

None of the victims had any memory of the acts committed on them. During searches of the house, police found photographs of a variety of men, some of whom were naked, on his computer.

Virginia Cornwall, mitigating, admitted Wilkinson had "reckless disregard" for the men when it came to his own sexual gratification.

He had behaved in a "selfish, reckless and damaging" at a time when he had lost his job and believed he was suffering a terminal illness, which was not the case, she added.

The former shop manager has now written a letter of apology to his victims, which "shows he has an understanding of the enormity of what he has done", she claimed.

Police are continuing to investigate Wilkinson's background and want to speak to anyone who might have had contact with him through photography or dating websites.

It is thought, due to the fact that the men had been drugged and left with no memory of events, there could be many more potential victims.

Police said that they expect the number of victims from "right across the UK" to run into double figures.

Detective Constable Stacey Matthews said: "Nigel Wilkinson promoted himself as a male fitness photographer and last summer set up an online enterprise called Wilko Photography.

"He'd use social media to identify men he wanted to photograph and would invite them to Bristol for a photo shoot.

"The men would often stay at his home and throughout their visit he would ply them with alcoholic drinks, some of which were laced with sedatives.

"While they were in a drugged stage, Wilkinson's predatory nature would prevail and he'd commit sexual acts on them without their consent."

Wilkinson has been in custody since early May.

Ms Matthews added: "On the surface, Nigel Wilkinson was a photographer of male fitness models.

"In private he was a cunning sexual offender who used his photography enterprise as a cover and catalyst for his deviant activities."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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