On Wednesday, 29 August, Turkish Cypriots heard the shocking news that a mother in Bahçeli Village, near Girne, had been arrested and brought before the courts accused of sexually abusing her own children in live videos for financial gain.
The woman, a 28-year-old British national named locally as Jodie Victoria Little, has been charged with ‘immoral behaviour’, and unauthorised residence in North Cyprus since January 2015.
Due to the gravity of charges against her, Judge Gülay Süleymanoğlu ordered the woman to be detained in custody for two days, so police could continue their investigations. The woman has since been deported to Britain.
The incident came to light when officers from Britain’s National Crime Agency notified their counterparts in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC).
A man in Britain took part in an online sex chat with Little and claimed she had partially stripped before asking for money to be deposited in to her account. After receiving payment, she allegedly fully stripped off before bringing her four-year-old son on-screen and sexually abused him. The man contacted British police about the mother sexually exploiting her own children, who were able to track Little down via her internet address.
When Turkish Cypriot officers raided Little’s home, they found more video evidence of the woman, who also has a 16-month old baby girl, committing illicit sex acts. Local media reports allege the clips also involved her children.
Addressing the court during a hearing, Lapta police officer Enver Kasap said when questioned at Lapta Police Station about her “immoral behaviour”, Little accepted the charges against her, telling officers that she had filmed the videos for money during March and June of this year.
Little is suspected of committing similar offences in Britain before she moved to North Cyprus. As a result, rather than be prosecuted in the TRNC, the Turkish Cypriot authorities decided to hand the mother over to British authorities who had travelled to Cyprus to arrest her. Following a ruling from Girne District Court, she was deported via South Cyprus on Friday.
The co-operation between Britain and the TRNC follows a landmark ruling involving a suspected drug dealer, Hasan Akarcay, who had fled to North Cyprus. In February 2017, the British High Court put aside the lack of official political ties between the two countries because, said Lord Justice Burnett, “the public interest in co-operation is clear”.
Indirect contact between officers from both states had been taking place for years, but challenges had arisen due to the political non-recognition of North Cyprus. Since the High Court ruling, the path has been cleared for intelligence on criminal activity and suspects to be shared more easily. A few weeks earlier, this co-operation helped snare one of the UK’s most wanted suspects.
On 19 August, Charles Edward Riddington, a suspect murderer from London, was apprehended at his İskele home by Turkish Cypriot officers following a tip-off by Interpol. He is wanted in Britain over the fatal stabbing of George Barker, who was ambushed by six men at Double K Gym in Bexley, southeast London, on 14 November 2016.
Riddington is believed to have entered the TRNC unlawfully in December 2017 using fake identity, using a Namibian passport purporting to be Ricky De Bruin.
In a court hearing in the TRNC capital Lefkoşa, police officer Mehmet Bayır said the suspect had given a statement voluntarily. He added while it was clear the suspect’s ID documents were false, it had not yet been possible to confirm his real identity. Riddington was remanded in custody while the TRNC police continue to investigate.
In January this year, Scotland Yard detectives had offered a £10,000 reward in a bid to track down Riddington. During a BBC Crimewatch appeal, police said the murder suspect had used 14 aliases in his effort to avoid detection. Riddington’s current appearance, sporting shoulder length blond curly hair, is significantly different from his last known appearance in the UK, when he had a cropped dark brown hair.
Responding to news of Riddington’s arrest in North Cyprus, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said, “Our understanding is that he has been arrested for local matters and that an investigation is ongoing. We await the outcome of that investigation.”
The spokesperson added, “The Metropolitan Police is continuing with its investigation into the murder of George Barker and continue to work tirelessly to bring the offender to justice by all lawful and legitimate means.”