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Paralegal jailed for online child abuse removed from profession

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Aspiring barrister pleaded guilty to 158 sex offences

A paralegal who used online gaming platforms to abuse hundreds of children has been removed from the legal profession.

In March 2019 at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, Owain Thomas pleaded guilty to 158 offences against children, including causing or inciting children to engage in sexual activity and distributing indecent images.

The court heard how the 29-year-old Aberystwyth University law graduate used various Skype, Facebook and gaming accounts to abuse over 140 children online.

He was jailed for ten years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life. He will also serve a further five years on licence following his release.

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Thomas, who was working as an administration assistant at Cardiff law firm Albany Solicitors with a view to pursue a career at the bar, has now been made the subject of a section 43 order, according to a disciplinary decision published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

A section 43 order prevents Thomas from working in a law firm without prior permission from the SRA.

The court also 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.

Judge Richard Twomlow described the law grad as a “persistent” and “dangerous offender” who posed “a significant risk to the public”.

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