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25th Oct 2023

Police officer who groomed 200 girls on Snapchat jailed for life

Joseph Loftus

‘I lost my innocence’

A paedofile police officer who posed as a young boy on Snapchat has been jailed to life after inciting more than 200 girls to send him explicit photos.

Lewis Edwards, 24, of Bridgend, used fake Snapchat accounts where he pretended to be a 14-year-old boy to groom 210 girls who were aged between 10 and 16.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that over the course of three years, Edwards forced his victims to make and share indecent images and videos of themselves which he saved and recorded.

He then used these recording to blackmail his victims into sending increasingly graphic content and threatened to send the recordings to family and friends if they didn’t comply with his demands.

The court heard that 209 of his victims were abused while he was working as a police officer for South Wales Police.

Upon his arrest, Edwards was immediately suspended from his duties before later resigning.

According to ITV, investigators found that on 30 occasions, Edwards was in contact with his victims during working hours.

Edwards was caught by his own police force after they received intelligence about the downloading of indecent images from the dark web.

The home which Edwards shared with his parents in Bridgend, South Wales, was raided earlier this year and his computer, mobile phone, and hard drive were all seized.

Roger Griffiths, prosecuting, said: “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.”

In one of Edwards’ videos, a teenage girl could be seen crying and wiping tears from her eyes while carrying out the acts Edwards demanded of her.

In a victim impact statement, the girl whose identity remains anonymous, said: “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.”

The court also heard that some of the girls were so traumatised by Edwards actions that they began to self-harm, while another slept with a hammer under her pillow.

One victim was told by Edwards that if she stopped sending him images he would “shoot her parents” and “bomb her house”.

Several victims claimed that their trust in the police has been shattered.

Edwards was jailed for life for his despicable actions.

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