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Paedophile police officer loses appeal against life sentence

23 May 2024 4 minute read
Photo issued by South Wales Police of the police interview of Lewis Edwards .

A paedophile police officer who was jailed for life for grooming more than 200 underage girls has lost a bid to change his sentence at the Court of Appeal.

Lewis Edwards incited girls aged between 10 and 16 to send him degrading pictures and videos of themselves over Snapchat, which he secretly recorded before blackmailing many of his victims.

The former South Wales Police officer admitted more than 150 offences and was sentenced to 13 life sentences with a minimum term of 12 years for the most serious charges in October last year.

Lawyers for the 24-year-old challenged the sentence at the Court of Appeal, arguing at a hearing on Thursday that the judge should not have passed a life sentence.

But three judges dismissed his appeal.


Mrs Justice May said: “The applicant appears to have a settled, perverse sexual interest in young girls. He has minimised the harm caused to his victims.

“In these circumstances, we can understand the judge’s conclusion that it was impossible to conclude when or if the risk posed by the applicant would cease.

“We are not persuaded that the applicant should be differently sentenced. The sentence thus remains in all respects as it was before.”

161 offences

Edwards, formerly of Heol Ty Cribwr, Cefn Glas, Bridgend, previously pleaded guilty to 161 offences, including blackmail, 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.

He posed as a teenage boy on the social media platform to groom his victims and force them to send indecent images of themselves.

He would then blackmail some of his victims, threatening their friends and family unless they sent him increasingly graphic content, while also sending videos of him performing sex acts upon himself.

Cardiff Crown Court heard last year that he threatened to bomb the house of one victim and shoot her parents if she stopped sending him images, with many victims self-harming, feeling suicidal and developing anxiety and depression as a result of Edwards’s offending.

Passing sentence, Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, the Recorder of Cardiff, said Edwards’s reaction to his victims’ distress was “cruel and sadistic” and that the offending was “significantly aggravated” by the fact he was a serving police officer.

Edwards, who joined South Wales Police in January 2021 and resigned during criminal proceedings, met all but one of his victims while he was an officer and had contact with his victims on 30 occasions while on duty.

He refused to attend his sentencing and did not attend Thursday’s hearing.

Last resort

Susan Ferrier, for Edwards, said: “Life imprisonment should always be a sentence of last resort, this being a young man who at the time of the offending which he pleaded guilty to was identified as somebody who, although he had gained entry into the police force, was somebody who was not just a young man but someone who was emotionally immature.”

Roger Griffiths, representing the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The sentence is not one that is manifestly excessive in the circumstances of this case.”

Mrs Justice May, sitting with Lord Justice Holroyde and Mr Justice Bourne, ruled that while the case was at the “outer margins” of where a life sentence should be passed, it “was not unreasonable”.

Following the sentencing last year, Snapchat said the offending was “abhorrent” and that it had added “extra protections for under-18s”, including a pop-up warning for teens if they are contacted by people they do not know.

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