Details of the life of Darwin crocodile expert Adam Robert Corden Britton have been revealed after the former academic was unmasked as a serial animal abuser in the Northern Territory Supreme Court.
His name had previously been suppressed from the public due to the depravity of his crimes, which threatened his right to a fair trial, the NT News reported.
Britton pleaded guilty to 60 charges, including the torture, rape, and killing of at least 39 dogs.
The court heard how he referred to the animals as “f*** toys”, raped puppies and operated a nightmarish “torture room” on his property in McMinns Lagoon, half an hour outside Darwin.
He also sexually abused his own Swiss Shepherd pets, Ursa and Bolt, for nearly a decade before seeking more dogs to harm on Gumtree.
Just two years ago, he was a renowned researcher at Charles Darwin University, known for his work in crocodile conservation with his wife and business partner.
Britton used Telegram accounts to engage with like-minded individuals and share images and recordings of his animal abuse and to discuss his “kill count”.
“I had repressed it. In the last few years I let it out again, and now I can’t stop. I don’t want to,” Britton had told an anonymous Telegram user.
Britton managed to keep these dark fantasies hidden, even from his wife Erin.
He and his wife were featured in interviews about their research on ABC News and Triple J’s Hack.
The court heard that Britton and his wife filmed themselves feeding a freshwater crocodile on their property during a Covid lockdown in 2020.
“Hello everyone, Adam here. Well, we’re at home at the moment and we’ve got to feed the crocodiles,” Britton said in the video with his wife.
“So what I’m going to do is, I’m going to hand this camera to Erin – say ‘hi’, Erin.”
There is no indication that Erin Britton was aware of her husband’s crimes.
Originally from England, Britton obtained his Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Bristol before moving to Australia in 1996 to study crocodiles.
He and his wife established a company called Big Gecko, which sold crocodile footage to television and film producers and worked with BBC and National Geographic.
Britton was known for self-promotion, frequently updating his social media profiles with photos of his crocodiles and media appearances.
The court noted a disturbing Facebook post in which Britton celebrated his Swiss Shepherd’s first birthday in 2016, while he had been abusing his own dogs since 2014.
During a raid of his home last year, the police seized computers, mobile phones, cameras, external hard drives, tools, weapons.
Chief Justice Michael Grant described Britton‘s actions as “acts that could only be described as grotesque cruelty which are both confronting and distressing” and that the details of the case could cause psychological harm to those exposed to them.
Britton’s name was initially suppressed by the courts but the order was lifted after he pleaded guilty.
His sentencing submissions are scheduled for December 13.