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Aspiring barrister jailed for grooming over 140 children online

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Aberystwyth Uni law grad handed 10 year sentence

An Aberystwyth University law graduate who used online gaming platforms to incite children to commit sexual acts on camera has been jailed for ten years.

Owain Thomas, 29, was found to have used various Skype usernames, nine Facebook profiles, and three gaming accounts to abuse over 140 children online.

Thomas, who was working as a paralegal with a view to pursuing a career at the bar, was arrested after he asked two eight-year-old boys to expose themselves at a playground, BBC News reports.

He later pleaded guilty to 158 sex offences, including causing or inciting children to engage in sexual activity and distributing indecent images.

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Jailing him for ten years at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on Friday, Judge Richard Twomlow described the law grad as a “persistent” and “dangerous offender” who posed “a significant risk to the public”. He will serve a further five years on licence following his release.

The court heard how Thomas used special software to adopt the persona of children and bribed some of his young victims with online gaming currency in return for sexual acts to be performed on camera. He would then share the footage with other paedophiles online.

Commenting on the shocking case, detective inspector Lianne Rees said: “What was so alarming was the high percentage of parents who had no clue whatsoever what their children were doing online, and that should be a warning for others.”

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25 Comments

MC Trainee

Our justice system is broken. He should have received a life sentence. He’ll be out after 3 years on “good behaviour”.

(54)(3)

Anonymous

Looney left wing judges are to blame for very soft sentencing. If it was their son or daughter sexually abused they would wake up.

(34)(37)

Anonymous

Lol mate judges aren’t left wing. If anything it’s because the right wing loony Tories have completely trashed our prison system and there isn’t enough space to keep people like this locked up.

(10)(6)

Anonymous

You honestly can’t be that stupid to think that judges just ‘make up’ sentences can you?

(19)(3)

Anonymous

Didn’t you read the article? The offences do not carry life. The maximum penalty is 14 years. These were Catagory 2A offences with a starting point of 3 years (two years on the a plea as the Judge is required as a matter of law to reduce the sentence by one third).

The Judge was satified that the offender was dangerous, but a life sentence was not available for the offences and therefore the Judge was required to impose an extended sentence with an extended sentence, which the Judge did. As this was an extended sentence two thirds must be served before being considered for parole. The parole board may (not must) authorise release at that point, but only if it is proved that the offender is no longer dangerous. If not so satisfied the full 10 years must be served. Two thirds of ten is not three.

(29)(3)

Broken system

I think the point the commenters are trying to make is that the penalties available for the crime are inadequate and need an overhaul.

Liberalism on steroids + HRA = pathetic UK sentencing guidelines (thats if the police actually do their job and apprehend people in the first place).

(13)(7)

Anonymous

The sentence for murder, rape and paedophilia should be the death penalty.

(40)(23)

Anonymous

What about mistakes of the justice system? There are quite a few real stories of people being executed / committing suicide in prison after being convicted for a murder committed by other person etc. Obviously, these are extreme and not widespread cases (especially with better DNA testing recently), but the chance of a mistake is real.

(13)(2)

Anonymous

There have been mistakes in the justice system but these are mostly cases from the 80s/90s. With advanced technology, it’s quite rare for someone to be wrongly convicted. In this case, where clear evidence he was a pedo, he should have been executed this morning.

(28)(15)

Anon

So naive! Mistakes from the 80s/90s happened “quite rare for someone to be wrongly convicted.” Wrongful convictions happen daily. Is only the most high profile that get reported. The system is far from perfect.

(14)(23)

Anonymous

It’s because of snowflakes like you that this country is broken and criminals are getting light sentencing.

Anonymous

Daily Mail comments —->

Anonymous

I remember reading an article whilst I was doing a criminal justice elective about a study, I think in Germany, were paedophiles could be voluntarily castrated in return for the remainder of their sentence being reduced/waived. It turned out that the re-offending rate was 0, so the problem was solved. Always wandered why this was never explored further.

(24)(0)

Anonymous

Agreed! Judges should have power to castrate. We need to be tough on pedos and grooming gangs.

(28)(2)

Anonymous

“Power to castrate” sounds like something Henry VIII would enjoy.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

And your mum.

(4)(4)

Anonymous

Can this power to castrate be extended to other offences? And be carried out by the judge personally in court immediately after sentencing? That would be bantz

(7)(4)

LSE LLB

“Aberystwyth University”…..I’m not even taking the piss here but never heard of this university. Is it in the UK?

(22)(8)

Anonymous

Wales

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Ranked reasonably well in some areas.

(4)(5)

Anonymous

By whom? Their lecturers and their families?

(14)(4)

Anonymous

Your geography is appalling.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Shocking how many working parents (barristers included) leave their children to be raised by iPads.

No, it isn’t ‘normal’ to let children have social media accounts and message anyone freely online.

I can’t understand how parents think hours of gaming and chatting is nothing more than an ‘innocent’ hobby. What happened to sport/board games/hiking/music/make-believe games/cooking/reading stories/camping/sitting down and teaching your kids something?

(20)(0)

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