The court heard that he “liked to take the masculinity of straight men” and that his three victims had been left devastated by his crimes.
Detectives suspect the number of victims could run into double figures and said many could have been so heavily drugged they may not have realised what happened.
Sentencing Wilkinson, Judge Michael Longman said:
“You wanted to have sex with as many attractive men as possible. All the victims were much younger than you and entrusted themselves to you. You abused the trust they placed in you. The whole basis of their contact with you appears to be a lie.”The court heard that Wilkinson promoted himself as a male fitness photographer and last summer set up a respectable-looking online enterprise called WilkoPhotography.
He would search for victims on Instagram and invite them to his house in Bedminster, Bristol, under the pretence of putting together a modelling portfolio.
Police were investigating him for offences against a 19-year-old man from Kent when officers attended his home in April to arrest him and found a second victim, a 23-year-old from Gloucestershire, asleep on his sofa. Both had traces of sedatives in their systems.
The second victim had no knowledge of what had happened but described it as “the most disgusting thing an individual can do”.
During the investigation, police identified a third victim, a 19-year-old from Wiltshire, who was also found to have traces of sedatives in his system.
None of the victims had any memory of the acts committed on them.
During searches of the house police found photographs of a variety of males, some of who were naked, on his computer.
Virginia Cornwall, mitigating, admitted Wilkinson had a “reckless disregard” for the men for his own sexual gratification.
He had behaved in a “selfish, reckless and damaging” way at a time when he had lost his job and believed he was suffering a terminal illness, which was not the case, she added.
The former shop manager has now written a letter of apology to his victims, which “shows he has an understanding of the enormity of what he has done”, she claimed.
Police are continuing to investigate Wilkinson’s background and want to speak to anyone who may have had contact with him through photography or dating websites.
Detective Constable Stacey Matthews said: “Nigel Wilkinson promoted himself as a male fitness photographer and last summer set up an online enterprise called WilkoPhotography.
“He’d use social media to identify men he wanted to photograph and would invite them to Bristol for a photo shoot. The men would often stay at his home and throughout their visit he would ply them with alcoholic drinks, some of which were laced with sedatives. While they were in a drugged stage, Wilkinson’s predatory nature would prevail and he’d commit sexual acts on them without their consent. On the surface Nigel Wilkinson was a photographer in male fitness models. In private he was a cunning sexual offender who used his photography enterprise as a cover and catalyst for his deviant activities.”