May 2021

Bristol paedophile jailed for sexually abusing nine children

A “dangerous already convicted paedophile” from Bristol has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for 33 sexual offences against children between 2017 and 2020.

Thomas Rawlings, aged 35, from Lockleaze in Bristol, pleaded guilty to a total of 33 charges after grooming and exploiting nine children.

Among them, he incited a girl aged 13-14 to engage sexual activity, took and possessed indecent images of children, paid for sexual services from a child aged 16 – 17 and engaged in sexual communication with a child.

Rawlings lied to his victims about his age, making out he was up to 20 years younger than he really was and leading them to believe that they were in genuine relationships with him.

Sentencing, Judge Patrick said that Rawlings was a dangerous, obsessed and persistent paedophile who targets young people for sexual gratification and a feeling of power.

“You scared your child victims and caused them emotional torment. You ripped families apart. You have worsened the lives of the vulnerable. You have ruined trust. You have caused some to feel suicidal,” said the judge.

Rawlings, a Registered Sex Offender, was first convicted in 2012 on 15 counts of making indecent images of children between 2009 and 2011.

In November 2020 Rawlings was arrested on suspicion of causing or inciting the sexual exploitation of girls in connection with his relationship with four girls aged 14 – 16.

Following Rawlings’ arrest, a 17-year-old victim made contact with the police concerned for the welfare or her ‘boyfriend’ who she believed to be 20 years old at that time.

Her contact with him started when she was just 13 years old and Rawlings led her to believe that he was 14 years old at that time.

At first the contact was online, but this later progressed to physical meetings, with Rawlings travelling to various parts of the country and booking hotels for them to meet in, where Rawlings groomed and exploited her into a sexual relationship with him.

Unknown to the victim, Rawlings was also in a ‘relationship’ with another child who was 14 when he first made contact with her and who believed him to be 18 years old.

Rawlings was sentenced to 12 years in prison with an additional 10 years on licence.