British crocodile expert admits to 60 charges of bestiality and child abuse material

A British crocodile expert who worked with Sir David Attenborough has pleaded guilty to 60 charges relating to bestiality and child abuse material.

Adam Britton, 51, who grew up in West Yorkshire before moving to Australia, admitted filming himself while torturing dozens of dogs until the majority of them died.

He would then post videos of the incidents online, where he also accessed child abuse material.

On Monday, Britton pleaded guilty to charges ranging from animal cruelty to raping or attempting to rape a dog and possessing and transmitting child abuse material.

The married zoologist, who once hosted Sir David while the broadcaster filmed part of the BBC's Life in Cold Blood docuseries at his property, sexually abused his own Swiss shepherd pets, Ursa and Bolt, for almost a decade.

He eventually expanded to Gumtree Australia to source more dogs to torture and kill at his rural estate at McMinns Lagoon on the northern tip of Australia.

At a hearing in the Northern Territory (NT) Supreme Court on Monday, prosecutors laid out the case against him.

Much of the details of Britton's crimes are too graphic to publish, and so "grotesque" the judge warned people to leave the courtroom.

"These facts contain material that can only be described as grotesque and perverse acts of cruelty which is confronting and distressing and which in my assessment have the potential to cause nervous shock," he said, before taking the rare step of excusing security officers and junior court officials, local media reported.

Britton had a "sadistic sexual interest" in animals since at least 2014, prosecutors told the court, and along with exploiting his own pets, he had manipulated other dog owners into giving him theirs.

He would use Gumtree Australia to find people who were often reluctantly giving their pets away due to travel or work commitments, building a "rapport" with them to negotiate taking custody of the animals. If they reached out to Britton for updates on their old pets, he would tell them "false narratives" and send them old photos.

In one scenario, Britton sent a message to the owners of a large brown dog to reassure them the animal was "settling in well".  

"Wolfe was relaxed and eating well and enjoying her new home," the message wrote.

But unbeknownst to the previous owners the dog had already been "sexually exploited, tortured and killed," Mr Aust said.

Britton also pleaded guilty to four counts of accessing and transmitting child abuse material, including of toddlers being forced to engage in depraved acts. He will be sentenced at a later date.