A Northland man arrested as part of an international online child sexual abuse network and found in possession of images displaying bestiality, sadism, and photos of children being sexually abused was denied home detention and sent to prison.

David Roycroft, 33, earlier pleaded guilty to 22 charges of possessing objectionable material and appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court on Friday.

He was among six people arrested throughout Northland during Operation Hyper, a New Zealand Police and Customs joint operation that busted the network.

Roycroft was the only Northlander.


In court on Friday, Judge Keith de Ridder said the international operations identified a number of people in New Zealand, Canada and the United States sending and receiving objectionable material on their smartphones. Roycroft was identified through his computer registration and a warrant was executed at his home and a number of electronic items, including his cellphone, were seized by police.

Judge de Ridder imposed a sentence of one year and 11 months.

Three videos and nine images were selected that portrayed bestiality and sadism involving the use of knives to inflict injuries on animals.

More than 100 images of children aged from three months to six years being sexually abused were seized, from which 10 were selected that formed the basis of the charges against him.

Judge de Ridder said during online group chat, Roycroft commented on what he'd like to do to the children. The graphic images were degrading and highly objectionable, the judge said.

Roycroft's lawyer Tracy Spencer said the volume of objectionable material was low compared to the other cases of a similar nature.

The offending occurred over one month, Roycroft didn't know the person who took the images, there was no commercial elements to his offending and he pleaded guilty at an early stage, she said in mitigation.

Police prosecutor Paul Brocas said Roycroft's previous convictions showed that he had a propensity to behave in the way he did which he said was deliberate.

Judge de Ridder said the objectionable material clearly showed that adults exploited children not only for their own satisfaction but for the satisfaction of others globally.

Operation Hyper began in June last year when a referral by Queensland police led to a search at the central Auckland home of a 41-year-old man.

Information gained as a result identified other offenders in New Zealand and the UK.