June 2015

Valleys man who raped and sexually assaulted teenager jailed for eight years

A VALLEYS man who raped and sexually assaulted a teenager was given a lengthy prison sentence earlier today.

Hywel Edwards, 24, of Blaencuffin Road, Llanhilleth, had pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual activity with a child at an earlier hearing.

But he denied five counts of rape and another count of sexual assault.

Last month a jury at Merthyr Crown Court found him guilty of all charges except one of the rapes.

He will serve an eight year jail term – but the time he has served in jail since last November will be deducted from that.

Sentencing him at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “The consequences psychologically have been grave.”

Edwards will be included on the Sexual Offenders’ Register for the rest of his life and will also need to abide by a sexual harm prevention order on his release from prison.

He was given seven year jail terms for each of the rape convictions and a further 12 months for the sexual assault. All those sentences will run concurrently. He was given a further 12 months in prison for the sexual activity with a child charge. That will run consecutive to the others, totalling eight years.

The judge also reprimanded Edwards’ family for their behaviour after guilty verdicts were passed in May.

He said he received an email from a juror in last month’s trial. The juror wrote they had been intimidated by Edwards’ relatives outside Merthyr Crown Court and were told their verdict had “destroyed” Edwards’ life.

And the judge too said as he drove away from Merthyr himself, he had seen people “clamouring around the prison vehicle” trying to communicate with Edwards on May 5, as he was on his way back to prison.

He said although there was nothing that could be done over that behaviour at the sentencing, he warned that had people attending yesterday’s hearing made “so much as a squeak” in court or any disruption in the court buildings, they would be arrested immediately.

He also said none of their behaviour had any bearing on Edwards’ sentence

When Edwards was taken down to start his prison term, he put his thumb up to the public gallery.

Relatives then blew kisses at him.