British police officer who groomed children on Snapchat jailed for life

British police officer who groomed children on Snapchat jailed for life
British police officer who groomed children on Snapchat jailed for life

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Lewis Edwards, 24, admitted 162 offences of child sexual abuse against girls aged 10 to 16, who he also blackmailed with the threat of exposure, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said. — Reuters

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Wednesday, 25 Oct 2023 10:17 PM MYT

LONDON, Oct 25 — A British police officer was jailed for life today for grooming dozens of young girls into sharing explicit images of themselves through Snapchat, in the latest shocking case involving a serving officer.

Lewis Edwards, 24, admitted 162 offences of child sexual abuse against girls aged 10 to 16, who he also blackmailed with the threat of exposure, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Edwards posed as a teenage boy to target more than 200 girls between 2019 and February this year and manipulate them into sending him indecent images.

Despite some of the victims begging him to stop, he demanded further images, becoming increasingly threatening and blackmailing them into complying out of fear he would expose them, prosecutors said.

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He had received some of the images while on duty as an officer working in South Wales. Following his arrest detectives discovered heavily encrypted electronic devices alongside a blackmail manual.

“The crimes committed by Lewis Edwards are despicable and the public will be as shocked and sickened as we are that such appalling offences were committed by a serving police officer,” said Danny Richards, assistant chief constable of South Wales Police.

Edwards, who was sacked after his arrest, was given a life sentence at Cardiff Crown Court and will spend a minimum of 12 years in jail.

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“He has caused significant harm to the victims, to their parents, their siblings and their wider families,” Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke said.

“It is clear that he not only gained sexual gratification from his offending but that he also enjoyed the power and control that he had over these young girls. His reaction to their distress can properly be described as cruel and sadistic.”

Trust in Britain’s police forces has been badly damaged in recent years following a series of major scandals, including officers being convicted for murder and rape.

London’s Metropolitan Police, the country’s largest force, said this year it was reviewing its handling of previously closed complaints made against nearly 1,100 officers and staff over the last decade, including allegations of sexual assault. — Reuters

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