EXCLUSIVE, WARNING: Graphic content
Internet sleuths helped take down a once-respected crocodile expert who filmed himself raping, torturing, and murdering dogs after successfully identifying a leash in an abuse video he posted online.
Adam Robert Corden Britton, 52, pleaded guilty in Darwin’s Supreme Court on Monday to a string of charges relating to animal abuse, bestiality, and for the possession of child exploitation material.
The court heard Britton sourced about 42 dogs on Gumtree, often from owners who reluctantly gave their pets away due to work commitments. This was solely for the purpose of sexually exploiting them for his own sadistic pleasure.
Britton operated two Telegram accounts called ‘monster’ and ‘Cerberus’ – the latter being a three-headed dog in Greek mythology – between 2020 and 2022.
Britton used the accounts to engage with like-minded people about animal cruelty and bestiality.
However, he was the master of his own undoing when he posted a disturbing video called ‘1B***h9Pups’ to an abuse website on March 22, 2022.
Adam Robert Corden Britton (pictured) was a respected zoologist until he pleaded guilty to a string of animal abuse charges
Pictured: A stock image of a dog wearing an orange City of Darwin leash – like the one the internet sleuth spotted in Britton’s abuse video
The following day, an anonymous internet user noticed the adult female dog was wearing an orange City of Darwin leash with the slogan ‘great pets start with you’.
They referred the footage to the NT Animal Welfare Branch via Gmail, which then referred the matter to police.
On April 22, a month after Britton posted the video online, NT Police and Australian Federal Police raided his McMinns Lagoon home, in Darwin’s south.
Detectives seized computers, mobile phones, cameras, external hard drives, tools, weapons, dog paraphernalia and sex toys.
They also found severed dog limbs in a freezer, a decomposing puppy in a pond on the property, and a severed dog head on a neighbouring property.
Britton was eventually charged with 37 counts of animal cruelty, 10 counts of raping or attempting to rape a dog, and four counts of possessing or transmitting child abuse material.
The video and descriptions of his abuse are so disturbing Daily Mail Australia has chosen not to publish it.
Britton (pictured left, with his wife Erin) once hosted Sir David Attenborough (right). There is no suggestion whatsoever that his wife knew about his offending
Britton not only tortured and sexually abused his own pets Ursa and Bolt (pictured together), who he created an Instagram page for, but also dogs from pet owners he had lured into his trap through the online marketplace platform Gumtree Australia
The court also heard he sexually abused his own Swiss Shepherd pets, Ursa and Bolt, for almost a decade until he eventually took to Gumtree to source more dogs to kill.
After pleading guilty to all charges on Monday, Chief Justice Michael Grant warned the press gallery that the facts of the offending detailed ‘acts that could only be described as grotesque cruelty which are both confronting and distressing’.
‘Which in my assessment have the potential to cause nervous shock or some other adverse psychological reaction to a person exposed to those details,’ he said.
Britton was charged last year, but his name was suppressed by the courts to ensure media attention would not bias a jury against him.
The order was lifted after his pleaded guilty on Monday.
His matter is set to return to court on December 13 for sentencing submissions.
Adam Britton is pictured with his wife, Erin. They were married for at least 15 years
Britton, who grew up in West Yorkshire before moving to Australia, began his sick abuse in 2014 and tortured and raped more than 42 dogs he called ‘f*** toys’ in the bleak container that was fitted with cameras until his arrest in April 2022.
The academic at Charles Darwin University, who once hosted broadcaster David Attenborough at his home, would post the horrific footage of the abuse on his Telegram channel.
The married zoologist kept his twisted double life and depraved fantasies from his wife Erin for years. Erin, a wildlife ranger who met Prince Harry and helped him catch a crocodile, has since reportedly changed her surname.
There is no suggestion whatsoever that Ms Britton, a biologist and wildlife ranger who has assisted in a range of projects on sea turtles and counting crocodiles, knew anything about her husband’s crimes.
The National Geographic website suggests she will be on international wildlife expeditions for the next six months, and there is no mention in her bio of her husband and former business partner.
Britton would tell pet owners on Gumtree Australia that his old dog had died of cancer and he wanted a ‘new family member’ in order to make them have pity on him and sell them their dog, the court heard.
If the pet owners reached out and asked Britton how their old dog was doing, he would spin a ‘false narrative’ to say they were healthy and even send them old photos – when in reality their pet was already dead.
In one scenario, Britton sent a message to the owners of a large brown dog Wolfe to reassure them the animal was ‘settling in well’.
‘Wolfe was relaxed and eating well and enjoying her new home,’ the message said.
‘But unbeknownst to the previous owners the dog had already been ‘sexually exploited, tortured and killed,’ prosecutor Marty Aust told the court.
Prosecutors told the court how Britton has a ‘sadistic sexual interest’ in animals and in particular dogs since at least 2014
Britton grew up in England and received his Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Bristol before moving to Australia after 1996 to pursue his fascination with crocodiles.
He met his future wife and they set up a consultancy company, Big Gecko, which sold footage of crocodiles to television and film directors. They worked with natural history shows with the BBC and National Geographic.
Their saltwater crocodile, Smaug, became something of a celebrity in his field and appeared in two horror films.
Britton was a shameless self-promoter and would often update his social media profiles with photos of his crocodiles, property, and media clippings.
While he managed to hide his sick fantasies, one of the more disturbing posts on his public Facebook page was a post celebrating his Swiss Shepherd Bolt’s first birthday in 2016.
The post included a photo of Bolt as a puppy in 2015. According to the court on Monday, Britton started sexually abusing his own dogs in 2014.