A British crocodile expert has pleaded guilty to raping dozens of puppies and torturing more than 40 dogs at his animal shelter.
Adam Britton, 51, who grew up in West Yorkshire before moving to Australia, admitted to luring pet owners to give him custody of their beloved dogs before abusing them.
At the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, he also admitted to sexually abusing his own Swiss Shepherd pets, Ursa and Bolt, for almost a decade.
The academic at Charles Darwin University in northern Australia once hosted broadcaster David Attenborough at his home.
Britton would even film himself torturing the defenceless animals in what he called his "torture room" until most of them died before posting the sick material online, the court heard.
Britton, a leading zoologist who has worked with the BBC and National Geographic on productions, pleaded guilty to 56 counts of animal cruelty in court yesterday, Sept. 25.
He also pleaded guilty to four counts of accessing and transmitting child abuse material.
The details of Britton's crimes are so horrific that Chief Justice Michael Grant urged the public and security staff to leave the courtroom before the prosecutors outlined the facts of the case in a rare move.
He said: "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."
Prosecutors told the court how Britton, who hosted Attenborough while the broadcaster filmed part of the BBC's Life in Cold Blood docuseries at his property, has a "sadistic sexual interest" in animals and in particular dogs since at least 2014.
Britton's wife Erin was unaware of her husband's disturbing fantasies and has since reportedly changed her surname.
Britton not only tortured and sexually abused his own pets Ursa and Bolt, 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.
Britton would use Gumtree Australia to target pet owners across the Darwin region who were often reluctantly giving their pets away due to work or travel commitments, the court heard.
If the pet owners reached out and asked Britton for updates on their old pets, he would spin a "false narrative" to say they were healthy 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".
But, unknown to the previous owners the dog had already been "sexually exploited, tortured and killed," Mr Aust said.
Britton sometimes shares videos and images of himself sexually exploiting the dogs on online forums under pseudonyms.
Prosecutors told the court on Monday he had a Telegram account which was used to engage with "like-minded people", and another which was used to disseminate images and recordings of the abuse.
His account had 114 threads where he described how he acquired the pets and how he abused them.
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 he pleaded guilty on Monday. He has been remanded in custody since then.
He is set to return to court on December 13 for sentencing submissions.