Rising out of the cool blue waters of the Pacific and dotted with palm trees, the island of Pitcairn is seemingly a paradise on Earth.
Romanticised in Hollywood movies, the island was a colony set up by Fletcher Christian and the mutineer crew of the Bounty after casting adrift Captain Bligh in 1789.
Since then the island has drawn seekers from across the globe. Over 3,000 miles from the nearest hospital, supermarket or pay phone booth, most islanders only have contact with the outside world by mail and ham radio.
It has no cars or currency. The residents, mostly descendants of mutineers, shoot breadfruit from trees with guns and carve replicas of the bounty to trade with the ships that occasionally pass by.
But hidden beneath the friendly smiles of the 47 inhabitants is a dark secret.
In 2004, six men — a third of the island's adult male population, including Pitcairn mayor Steve Christian, a direct descendant of Fletcher Christian's — were convicted under English law of 33 sexual offenses, some dating back 40 years.
The trials revealed that for generations the islanders have had a culture of rape, adultery and child-abuse involving children as young as five.
As Pitcairn is one of the last remaining British colonies, detectives from Kent launched an 18-month investigation that would prove to be one of the most complex, and costly, in British legal history. Detectives Rob Vinson and Peter George were recently accorded in the Queen's New Year's honours list.
The detectives found every woman, born and bred on Pitcairn had experienced some form of sexual abuse in their lives. Many said that it would be impossible to find a girl over the age of 12 on the island who had not been the victim of sexual abuse.
But during the police investigation, eyewitnesses on the island said that locals did not believe what they were doing was wrong and claimed it was a part of their culture.
At the time of the trials Australian author Colleen McCullough, who is married to Bounty descendant Ric Robinson, rallied to the cause of the Pitcairners, saying that "it's Polynesian to break your girls in at 12".
It is believed that the crew of the Bounty mutinied after sampling the hedonism of Tahiti on their voyage. The all-male crew were forced to wait six months on the island for storms to clear, and in the process sampled a deeply rooted sexual culture.
The British explorer Captain Cook wrote in his account of Tahiti that he watched a ceremony where "a young Fellow above six feet high performed the rights of Venus to a little girl about 11 to 12 years of age publicly."
Little more than two years after setting sail, the crew mutinied, and set sail back to Tahiti to pick up women. The sailors, under Fletcher Christian, and the women then landed on the tiny island of Pitcairn nine months later, where they felt that they would be safe from the wrath of the British navy.
However, more than 200 years on and with little contact with the outside world, the islanders had developed a degenerate sexual culture where rape, adultery and child abuse were pervasive.
That culture began to unravel in 1996 when Dennis McGookin and Peter George, two detectives from Kent police, visited the island on the allegation that Shawn Christian, one of the children of Pitcairn governor Steve Christian, raped an 11-year-old.
The case collapsed after Shawn claimed consensual sex and provided love letters to prove it.
The detectives, who were the first British officers ever to set foot on the colony, raised concerns that the legal system there was at best rudimentary, and not fit to deal with serious crime. At the time Pitcairn barely saw itself as under British law, having never seen an attorney or judge.
The detectives advised that the government fund a village bobby for the island, but officials balked at the cost. Instead they agreed to send out a Kent police officer, Gail Cox, for 90-day training sessions every other year.
One her second visit, in 1999, Ms Cox was confronted with allegations that Shawn and brother, Randy Christian, had raped an 11-year-old girl.
The message went out to London and the detectives were back, although this time Rob Vinson accompanied Peter George. However the investigation was initially frustrated when the brothers denied the allegations and they were not able to find any leads.
Just as they were about to leave, they decided to interview a friend of the accused who was living in Auckland, New Zealand.
She said she knew nothing about the case but as the detectives turned to leave she mentioned almost in passing that she had been raped when she was 10. She later became the main whistleblower of the case and provided the detectives with an almost endless ream of leads. It was then that the culture of abuse unravelled.
DCI Vinson said: "She told us that you wouldn't find any girl on the island of the age of 12 who hadn't gone through that experience. Every Pitcairn girl that we spoke to who was born and bred on the island described some kind of abuse.
"As we were questioning witnesses they were giving us more and more leads, and it got bigger and bigger. It just snowballed."
Aided by a New Zealand policewoman, the Kent detectives hunted down every woman who had come of age on Pitcairn in the past 40 years and 24 agreed to make statements.
The officials uncovered more than 100 allegations of sexual abuse against 31 men, four of who had since died. More than 30 of the complaints could be defined as rape under English law, all against girls who were under-age at the time.
A British social worker who visited the island at the time in 2000 described a community deeply shaken by the inquiry. She dug deep into the culture on the island and revealed a way of life where sex permeated everything.
She told of a society where childhood sex games and abuse were commonplace, as were teenage pregnancies and abortions.
That culture was something that Britain had encountered before. Records of the Privy Council, which manages Britain's colonial assets, contain communications dating back to the beginning of the 20th century that raise concerns of the "moral degeneracy" on the island.
According to Vanity Fair magazine, who uncovered the records, at the time of the WWII a pastor on the island wrote to the government saying that prostitution and adultery were "very common", and said that young men had few other aspirations than to "break in" young girls.
However DCI Vinson vehemently denies that those practices were part of any culture on Earth.
He said: "They think that they can rule themselves and make up their own codes of conduct. People in the outside world don't know what it is like there. They say it is a part of Polynesian culture, but we aren't talking about a bit of underage sex, we are talking about systematic and extremely nasty child abuse.
"That's not a part of any culture. Many of the people who were doing this have lived on the mainland and are well-travelled, and they come back and think that they can carry on. That wasn't a cultural thing, that was people thinking they could do what they like and get away with it."
He says that the trial was one of the most complex and expensive in British history. The Foreign Office put the cost at £7million ($14million), but this was said to be merely a conservative estimate. The detectives, who jetted in and out of the island during the 18-month investigation, came under fire at the time for the expense incurred.
But DCI Vinson was defiant. He said: "Some people have said that the trials were too expensive. But what price could you put on justice? What if we saw this nasty child abuse and said, that's too difficult or too expensive to deal with? What would people think then?"
The investigation dragged on with what Mr Vinson called "delaying tactics" by Pitcairners. As a result many victims lost the nerve to testify in court.
When the trial finally took place in September 2004, of the 24 women who had given statements to police, only seven testified.
The proceedings took place on Pitcairn — which had seen its population almost double with an invading army of British bureaucrats, police and social workers.
The victims' testimony was beamed in from New Zealand. One 38-year-old said she had been raped by islander Terry Young, when she was 12, and the assaults lasted until she was 15.
She was quoted at the time as saying: "After a while I stopped saying no. There was no point to saying no. So I just lay there and let him get it over and done with. The quicker he did that, the quicker I was able to go."
Another women testified against island mayor Steve Christian, who said he raped her when she was 11 and he was 13.
She said at the time: "It just seemed to be the normal way of life back on Pitcairn, how the girls are treated, as though they're a sex thing.
"Men could do what they want with them. Who would have believed me against them? They seemed to be a rule unto themselves."
Steve Christian's son Randy was behind some of the most violent rape cases.
One girl said she had been gagged and gang raped by Randy and Shawn when they were 21 and 20 respectively, and she was just 11.
But over time she said that she began to have feelings for Randy and wrote him love letters. She said: "I was confused. It was like he had two sides to him. A great friendly guy and a person that did these awful things to me."
After the sentencing, in October 2004, many of the main protagonists, including Steve Christian, have remained unapologetic, insisting that it is part of their culture.
Herbert Ford, director of the Pitcairn Islands Study Centre, in Angwin, California, last visited Pitcairn in September.
He said that the islanders' lives had been turned upside down. "More than three quarters of the population believe this has been blown way out of proportion. They feel that the laws that have operating in Pitcairn island for a long time would have been sufficient to deal with these problems. They feel like they have no say in anything, that they are just straws in the wind.
"These people have descended from Polynesian woman and British sailors. "Through the years there has been early sex play and consensual sex on the island. If you look at the records of births on the island you see that a high proportion of children are illegitimate.
"This has been a matter of many years. The people of Pitcairn would not have given it the weight the outside world has given it in terms of questions of right or wrong."
He added that there was a large number of outsiders on the island to act as a "deterrent force" to stop child abuse.
"The governor has brought a lot of social workers onto the island to unscramble their heads, but the people don't feel like their heads are scrambled at all.
"In regards to sex the islanders are fairly straight-jacketed now. Whether the removal of these kinds of personnel in the future will keep this situation going or lead them to revert to how they were before is a big question in my mind."
Psychologist Charles Fortt said that the prevalence of child abuse may have been more due to the lack of policing, which gave it the quality of the island in William Golding's Lord of the Flies novel.
He said: "The more isolated the community, the less regulated in terms of government and policing the more opportunity there is for adults to use children as sexual objects and get away with it. When that process takes root after a period of time it becomes the norm."
DCI Vinson decried the fact that some people in Pitcairn was still not willing to move on.
He said: "If they had turned around and apologised for what they did, then Pitcairn could move on and take its place in the world. But the friends and families of the convicted are still trying to minimise what did take place and say that it was just a bit of underage sex, and they shouldn't have the weight of the British legal system on little Pitcairn. But nobody has spoken for the victims. These trials have given them a voice."