PETALING JAYA: While others presented a variety of subjects, the loner at the back of the class presented portraits of children as part of an assignment in a college course.
It was a sign of his dark side but no one knew that of Richard Huckle then.
â€œChildren made up about 70% of that one assignment. At that time, we thought the children were cute,â€ said a former course mate of Huckle.
The Malaysian student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, attended the course with Huckle at a private college in Kuala Lumpur for one semester.
Describing Huckle as a quiet student, who hardly interacted with any of his classmates, the youth said the Briton often skipped classes.
This former course mate said the convicted paedophile was so quiet that â€œyou would probably need to slap him to make him moveâ€.
â€œWe called him â€˜Beanâ€™,â€ said the student, referring to the TV character Mr Bean who never uttered a complete sentence.
Huckle did not have a relationship with any of his classmates and kept to himself, the student said.
â€œHe would sit at the back of the class. The only thing we know about him is that he was a freelance photographer,â€ the former course mate added.
When Huckleâ€™s crimes hit the front pages of newspapers, the student thought that the man in the photo looked familiar.
The news was shocking and spread quickly among the students.
â€œWhen a lecturer texted me, asking â€˜isnâ€™t this your classmate?â€™, I knew it was him.â€
â€œI never saw this coming.
â€œHe was just so quiet. You never thought that this person could do all that but now that we know what he has done, we canâ€™t help but think if he had committed these despicable acts on children while he was with us.
â€œI wonder what he was looking at on his computer screen when he was in class,â€ the student said.
Earlier this week, Huckle was sentenced to life in prison by a London court for abusing 23 Malaysian and Cambodian babies and children for over almost a decade.
Huckle was found with over 20,000 indecent images, more than 1,000 of which showed him committing offences including the rape of children, on his computer and camera when he was arrested at Gatwick Airport in 2014.
The laptop contained a ledger in which he detailed the abuse of 191 victims, but officers were unable to press charges on all cases as there was no photographic evidence.