Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

A paedophile police officer had more than 200 victims and blackmailed teenage girls into sending images of them performing sexual acts on themselves, a court has heard.

Lewis Edwards, 23, who was a South Wales police officer, groomed 210 girls between 10 and 16 years old on Snapchat over a period of three years.

He posed as a 14-year-old boy, covertly recording indecent videos and images which he forced his victims to make.

The recordings were used by Edwards to blackmail his victims into sending increasingly graphic and explicit images.

He also sent videos of himself performing a sex act.

Edwards joined the force in January 2021 and previously pleaded guilty to 162 child sex offences.

He refused to attend his sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court which began on Monday.

The hearing, which is due to last three days, proceeded in his absence.

Prosecuting, Roger Griffiths said the police investigation of accessible material “revealed the online interaction between the defendant and the victims”.

“He would say he was going to post images he already had to friends and relatives of the victims.”

The court heard Edwards had been in contact with 210 girls between November 2020 and February 2023.

The officers recovered images relating to 207 victims.

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Edwards’s offences include 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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