Paedophile hunters catch Newport sex offender

Russell Owen

Paedophile hunters snared a sex offender who was later caught with a shocking image showing “ritualistic child abuse”.

Russell Owen was jailed and told by a judge he had shown contempt for the police and the public by continuing to offend after being arrested.

The 31-year-old defendant committed his crimes in Newport and Blaenavon between May 2020 and June 2021.

Clare Wilks, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court how Owen was cornered by paedophile hunters in a sting after they had posed as 13-year-old girls.

The defendant, of Commercial Street, Newport, committed further offences when he was later caught with child abuse images on his phone.

He told detectives he had carried out the acts because he wanted to go to prison to settle a score with someone doing time.

Owen pleaded guilty to attempting sexual communication with a child, possession of indecent images of children and breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

Claire Pickthall, representing the defendant, urged the court to pass a sentence in which her client could attend a rehabilitation programme in the community.

The judge, Recorder Simon Mills, told Owen: “You cocked a snook at the police and the public.”

He said: “One of the images you had depicts ritualistic abuse and the child can be seen to be distressed.”

The judge added: “You have a strong sexual interest in children.”

Owen was jailed for two years and ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.