Sex offender snared by police online

Shaun Edwards. PIC: Norfolk Police.

Shaun Edwards. PIC: Norfolk Police. - Credit: Archant

A convicted sex offender was snared after getting involved in a conversation about child abuse with an undercover officer on an internet chat group, a court has heard.

Norwich Crown Court heard Shaun Edwards, 57, had been communicating with an undercover police officer – who he had not realised was a police officer – on an internet chat group between the end of October 2019 and the beginning of November 2019.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said the undercover officer had been posing as someone who had an interest in indecent images of children and as someone who had a 10-year-old daughter.

Mr Youell said there was “a lot of conversation” about the 10-year-old and “what they were hoping to do” with her.

Edwards also uploaded a number of images to the chat group including the most serious, category A as well as category B and C images.

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He was also found to have been involved in sexual chats with girls, the youngest of whom was said to be 11.

After the decision was made to arrest Edwards other devices containing indecent images and other indecent material was found.

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Edwards, of Chiltern Crescent, Hunstanton, whose previous convictions include indecent assault of a girl under 16, appeared to be sentenced on Tuesday (June 2) having previously admitted a total of 15 offences.

They include three counts of distributing indecent photo/pseudo photo of a child, possessing extreme pornographic images, four counts of possessing indecent photo/pseudo photo of a child, three counts of distributing indecent photo/pseudo photo of a child, attempting to cause/incite a girl 13-15 to engage in sexual activity and three counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Judge Stephen Holt said Edwards posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public and imposed an extended 10 year sentence, made up of five years custody with the rest to be served on licence.

Edwards was also placed Edwards on the sex offenders register for life and made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SOPO).

John Morgans, for Edwards, said the most important mitigation was his pleas at the earliest opportunity.

He added that Edwards had “co-operated throughout” and told him, “I did wrong and deserve what I get”.

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