Labourer facing extradition to US for hacking into hundreds of webcams

Married labourer, 57, facing extradition to US for hacking into the webcams of hundreds of women vows both he and his wife will kill themselves if UK judge orders him to face justice in America

  • Married Christopher Taylor accessed 772 webcams across 39 different countries
  • Watched unsuspecting women undressing and having sex from his Wigan home 
  • FBI traced his IP address and 57-year-old is now facing extradition to America
  • The US wants to put Taylor on trial for wire tapping and computer fraud 
  • Taylor and his wife told judge they would take their lives if he orders extradition

A labourer who hacked into webcams around the world has threatened to take his own life alongside his wife if extradited to the US.  

Christopher Taylor, 57, accessed 772 webcams across 39 different countries to watch women undressing and having sex from his home in Wigan, between August 2012 and July 2015. 

When Taylor targeted a student at Atlanta’s Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014 the college’s security system alerted the FBI who traced his IP address.

The US wants to put Taylor on trial for wire tapping and computer fraud and he could face a maximum 20 year sentence if extradited and found guilty.

Taylor and his wife Wendy separately told District Judge Michael Fanning they would both take their lives if he orders the extradition.

The couple now face an anxious wait after a judge said he was ‘damned’ whatever decision he made. 

Christopher Taylor, who spied on 772 victims across 39 different countries from his home in Wigan, is facing extradition to the US

Taylor tricked women into downloading the ‘Cammy’ software that allowed him to take control of their webcams by packaging it as a recognisable computer program.

Cammy is listed as an ‘all in one camera alarm system’ on the company’s LinkedIn page.

From his Wigan home the labourer looked on as the judge told Westminster Magistrates’ Court: ‘It’s a really difficult issue to deal with.

‘It’s a very heavyweight case. I have to bear in mind the real concerns as to the potential impact of my decision one way or another but if it were averse to Mr Taylor I have to think about that.

‘It has crossed my mind, it’s something I’m going to have to address. This is a very serious case indeed from Mr Taylor and his family’s point of view.

‘I’m uneasy giving a judgement remotely anyway. I’m not sure how happy I would be doing that. I would have to be very careful how I deliver that decision if it was against Mr Taylor.

‘It’s about ensuring the medics were there. It’s not lost on me that given the nature of the case it’s a damned if I do damned if I don’t.’

Taylor and his family now face a three-week wait to find out the judge’s decision.

Earlier New York University law professor Emma Kaufman said Taylor would face a tough time in a US prison because ‘sex offenders are a notoriously mistreated group in the penal system’.

Speaking on video-link from New York, she said: ‘If a person was categorised as a sex offender there is reason to think due to the culture that person could be at a higher risk of violence.

‘That person will be separated from the rest of the population. It would be unpleasant for a sex offender or someone believed to be a sex offender to be in a US custodial institution.’

She said as a foreigner, Taylor would be put into ‘the only private’ prisons in the US which have ‘usually poor healthcare, higher rates of violence and are especially remote.’

Taylor admits the offences but is fighting extradition to the US in a three-day hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court

Taylor is arguing the extradition would violate his right to family life and would be unfair on his housebound wife Wendy, as he is her main carer.

His two grown up children, who both live locally, told the court they would not be able to look after their mother without him.

Ben Cooper, QC, defending, told the court Taylor became fascinated and ‘addicted’ to the idea he could see through other people’s webcams.

He said Taylor did not use the malware for sexual gratification but was ‘just intrigued by how it all worked.’

The FBI claim they found footage of people ‘in various stages of undress and involved in sexual activity’ on Taylor’s laptop.

Taylor admits wire tapping and computer fraud but is fighting extradition to the US at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

He remains on bail until the ruling is handed down, which the judge scheduled for November 18.

Judge Fanning said he is yet to decide whether to pass judgement at Westminster Magistrates’ Court or in Manchester.

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