Blackmailing paedophile police officer had more than 200 victims, court told
A South Wales Police officer who blackmailed teenage girls into sending him images of them performing sexual acts on themselves had more than 200 victims, a court has heard.
Lewis Edwards, 23, groomed 210 girls aged between 10 and 16 on Snapchat over a three-year period.
Mr Edwards posed as a 14-year-old boy and forced his victims to make indecent videos and images of themselves, which he covertly recorded.
He then used the recordings to blackmail his victims into sending increasingly graphic and explicit images and he also sent videos of himself performing a sex act.
Edwards, who joined the force in January 2021, had previously pleaded guilty to 162 child sex offences.
He refused to attend his sentencing hearing, which is due to last three days, at Cardiff Crown Court and it proceeded in his absence.
Roger Griffiths, prosecuting, said detectives raided the home Edwards shared with his parents in Bridgend, South Wales, in February this year and seized mobile phones, a computer, USB sticks and a hard drive.
“The police investigation of the material accessible to them revealed the online interaction between the defendant and the victims in the indictments – his requests for the girls to engage in various sexual activities ranging from exposing their breasts and genitalia to penetrating themselves with their fingers and objects, his recording and keeping of the images he obtained, and blackmailing of the children for more indecent images they refused to provide more images,” Mr Griffiths said.
“He would say he was going to post images he already had to friends and relatives of the victims.”
The court heard that Edwards was in contact with 210 girls between November 2020 and February 2023 and officers recovered images relating to 207 victims.
The court was shown some of the videos Edwards had recorded of his victims.
In one, a teenage girl can be seen crying and wiping tears from her eyes.
Edwards messages her: “So hot, good girl, now get ur bra off yh x”.
She later begs him not to make her send him any more videos, and Edwards replies: “Good… But ur gonna have to make more… Show off ur tits more and slap ur ass for me.”
In a victim impact statement, the girl described Edwards as a “paedophile” and added: “I was a little girl. I feel embarrassed, disgusted and abused. I lost my innocence.
“I know the police are there to help us but how can I call the police now if I am in danger? I would not be able to trust the people who are there to keep us safe.”
Another victim was “guilt-tripped” into sending Edwards indecent images after he threatened to self-harm, Mr Griffiths told the court.
“She felt like it was all her fault and she let her parents down and failed as a daughter, as a friend and as a student,” he said.
“She feels guilty. She stated during this whole time she would be crying every night and she opened up to her best friend and told her everything that was going on.”
In a victim impact statement, the girl said she had also lost trust in the police as a result of Edwards’ offending.
“If something went wrong in the future, I wouldn’t trust the police to deal with it right,” she said.
“The police are supposed to look after us and they didn’t look after me.”
Edwards, of Heol Ty Cribwr, Cefn Glas, Bridgend, previously pleaded guilty to 162 offences, including inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, making a child watch a sex act, demanding indecent images of children, and making indecent images of children.
The hearing continues.
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