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Paedophile South Wales police officer Lewis Edwards jailed for life

25 Oct 2023 6 minute read
Photo issued by South Wales Police of the police interview of Lewis Edwards .

A paedophile police officer who incited more than 200 young girls to send him degrading pictures and videos of themselves over Snapchat has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years.

Lewis Edwards groomed 210 girls aged between 10 and 16 and forced them to send him indecent images of themselves that he secretly recorded.

He then blackmailed many of his victims with threats to tell their family and friends unless they sent increasingly graphic content – and even sent them videos of him performing sex acts upon himself.

The 24-year-old also threatened to bomb the house of one of his victims and shoot her parents if she stopped sending him images, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Many of his victims have suffered at his hands – self-harming, feeling suicidal and developing anxiety and depression. One was so traumatised she slept with a hammer under her pillow.

Edwards, who joined South Wales Police in January 2021 and has since resigned, had previously pleaded guilty to 22 counts of blackmail, 138 child sex offences and a further offence of refusing to disclose the password to a mobile phone and USB stick.

The court heard all but one of the victims were abused while he was a serving police officer, and he targeted one teenager just 17 days after meeting her as part of his duties.

Investigators found that on 30 occasions, Edwards was in contact with his victims during working hours.

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.

Sexual activities

“The police investigation of the material accessible to them revealed the online interaction between the defendant and the victims in the indictments,” Roger Griffiths, prosecuting, said.

“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.”

The court was shown some of the videos Edwards had recorded of his victims and in one, a teenage girl can be seen crying and wiping tears from her eyes.

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.”

In another clip, Edwards can be heard masturbating as he encourages his 12-year-old victim to do the same.

Several victims said their trust of the police has been shattered.

One girl said: “You are supposed to trust the police and he did this to me. I really hate him for what he has done.”

The mother of one child added: “The smirk he gave us in court shows that he has no remorse. I do not think he can or will have any understanding or care how he has impacted his victims.

“Lewis Edwards, I want you to know that as a family we will never forgive you and we feel nothing for you but hate.”

Edwards, 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.

Susan Ferrier, defending, said: “Nothing I can say is capable in any way of making up to the victims of what Lewis Edwards has accepted by his guilty pleas.

“It was prolonged, shocking and predatory offending against young girls. When he started his offending no doubt it spiralled out of control and he couldn’t stop himself, knowing it was wrong.

“He knows that he faces a very long period of imprisonment.”

Sentencing

Edwards again refused to attend his three-day sentencing hearing and he was jailed in his absence.

Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, The Recorder of Cardiff, said Edwards gained “sadistic enjoyment” from the distress of his young victims.

She told Cardiff Crown Court: “These are extremely serious offences and the defendant is a prolific offender.

“He has caused significant harm to the victims, their parents, their siblings and their wider families.

“It is clear that he not only gained sexual gratification but he also enjoyed the power he had over the young girls.”

She described his behaviour as “cruel and sadistic”, adding that she found he was dangerous and posed a high risk of danger to children.

An NSPCC Cymru spokesperson said: “It is incredibly distressing that Edwards committed these abhorrent crimes against children when, as a serving police officer, his role was to protect the vulnerable and he would have been aware of the devastating impact sexual abuse can have on young people.

“It is also deeply concerning the ease with which he was able to use social media to target children, and threaten and blackmail his victims to provide him with explicit material.

“This case demonstrates why the Online Safety Bill, which will soon become law, is so important, as it will require tech firms to design their sites with children’s safety as a priority, so they will be at less risk of harm from offenders like Edwards.”

Harm

Children’s Commissioner Rocio Cifuentes said: “The scale of the abuse, manipulation and fear that Edwards subjected these young people to is incomprehensible. These were crimes committed by a man whose job it was to protect children and to stop them from coming to harm. 

“The way in which he was able to deceive and blackmail young people through social media is a reminder of the challenge we face as a society in making online platforms safer for young people. 

“The new law and regulations must force platforms to do all they can to keep young people safe, to protect them from other users, and to stop the sharing of illegal content. Young people have lived with these dangers for far too long and the huge changes needed in this area can’t come soon enough.


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Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
6 months ago

So if he plays the game in prison he will be out before he’ s forty.Surely he deserves more,Although as an ex-copper I believe he will have a hard time in prison,but the law should not depend on on that.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Arthur Owen

He has a life sentence, and that can’t be removed unless he’s somehow proved innocent sometime in the future, and there seems to be no prospect of that ever happening. Yes, he could be out of prison in 12 years, but when he gets out, he’ll face the rest of his life on licence, liable to be yanked back into prison whenever the authorities deem it necessary, and he will more than likely be on the Sex Offender’s Register for life too, which means the authorities will know where he is at all times. He might not be in prison,… Read more »

Sally-Anne
Sally-Anne
6 months ago

How are we meant to trust the police? How can we tell our children “If something wrong is happening, if there is someone causing harm, go to the Police”?..

….I am getting more and more afraid that this truly is the Degenerate Age.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago
Reply to  Sally-Anne

I suspect it always has been. We are just hearing about it more now, due to technology. Perhaps the likes of Piers Morgan, Andrew Tate, Rishi Sunak, Elon Musk etc are making things worse, by polluting the public narrative with their incessant hatred. But I think vile people have always existed (1970s at the BBC for example)

Last edited 6 months ago by Sarah Good
Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Clearly there is a need to educate young people about the dangers of the internet and specifically social media. Government action could also be taken require the changing of algorithms to reflect more positive, inclusive material rather than the toxic content presently presented.. Above all, young people, especially girls/young women need to be empowered and the infrastructure be there to support them when needed. Boys/young men should not be ignored, of course, but a different approach needs to be taken: people like Tate and Musk need to be shown for the losers they really are.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

I was told years ago by a man who had worked in internet related businesses that a significant segment of “traffic” on the internet was various types of pornographic material ranging from “movies” to “stills” and reading material. Coming a close second was criminal enterprises of a non-porn nature but just as damaging because there were victims involved. So here we are 25 or more years in and the authorities still fail to figure out how to stifle these enterprises at source. Methinks someone ain’t trying hard enough.

Putin's Praetorian
Putin's Praetorian
6 months ago

The last two years has seen a wave of convictions for police officers for very serious offences. It seems that the chickens have finally come home to roost.

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Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago

There have always been corrupt police as any serious reading of police history in the UK will demonstrate. The police were always more about controlling ‘the lower orders’ than anything else, which is why they are sometimes referred to as the ‘thin blue line’ which was taken directly from the ‘thin red line’ indicative of military action, one that was used, to disastrous consequence at Peterloo, itself a major catalyst in the introduction of civilian policing in the UK.

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