A PREDATORY sex offender was twice released on Police bail to offend again and again, even after making clear admissions of guilt to similar offences in interviews by Dyfed Powys Police officers.
Matthew Thomas, aged 21, moved from the north-east of England to Llanelli in an effort to dodge responsibility for offences relating to online grooming of vulnerable victims.
Cleveland Police, which was investigating Thomas for grooming a young girl with learning difficulties, contacted Dyfed Powys Police about him in December 2017.
Interviewed in Wales in January 2018, Thomas made clear and frank admissions about his conduct in grooming the vulnerable girl. When Police recovered data from his mobile phone, they recovered images of adults engaged in bestiality.
Thomas’ evil criminal method was consistent.
Prosecuting barrister Paul Hobson told the Court, that Thomas combined initial charm towards his victims with abuse. If his victims refused to comply with his perverted demands he would threaten to harm himself and tell his victims’ families what was going on.
After Dyfed Powys Police bailed Thomas, he stalked a further three young girls on social media using the same blend of threats and blackmail to get them to send indecent photos to him.
One of his victims was 13 years old.
Thomas sent the girl videos of him masturbating. He tried to persuade her to engage in a live video chat with him before threatening to rape her.
In August last year, Thomas was again arrested by Dyfed Powys Police after being caught in a sting by a paedophile hunter group.
Despite the admissions they already had from January and evidence relating to further offending, Police released him again.
He resumed offending almost immediately and in November 2018 was brought before Llanelli Magistrates Court and made the subject of an interim sexual harm order.
He continued offending.
He sent a photo of one of his victims to her own mother and encouraged another to self-harm.
When he was finally charged in January 2019, Police found he had groomed yet another 15-year-old victim and persuaded her to send him intimate photos which he threatened to distribute across social media.
The Court was told that, by the time he was charged, Thomas was the focus of eleven different Police investigations into the online grooming of vulnerable and under-age girls.
Thomas, of Nightingale Court, Llanelli, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act, possession and distribution of indecent images, and possession of extreme pornography.
Sentencing Thomas to a ten-year sentence, six in custody and a further four on an extended licence, HHJ Paul Thomas QC was savage in his criticism of the Police’s handling of the case.
HHJ Thomas said that the way in which the Police dealt with a persistent and dangerous offender was tantamount to ‘dereliction of duty’.
The Judge continued to demand a report from a senior officer of or above the rank of Assistant Chief Constable within three weeks to explain how Police had allowed Thomas to remain at liberty to offend.
Judge Thomas added: “It is disgraceful that this defendant was allowed to commit these offences which still under investigation.”
The Judge said Matthew Thomas’ behaviour towards the girls was “vicious and callous”.
Having concluded that Thomas posed a significant and continuing risk to the public, he passed an extended public protection sentence of ten years.
He ordered that Thomas register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life. The Judge also made Thomas the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order to curtail his online access and protect young girls from his vile behaviour.
Man issued with two COVID-19 fines in 24 hours as police thank those following new legislation
A man has been issued with two fines in 24 hours for flouting Coronavirus legislation, as police thank those who are following the new rules.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Carmarthenshire stopped the 22-year-old from Llanelli twice for being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.
A report was made on April 1 that three men were breaching the COVID-19 legislation by gathering in Llanstephan. A woman who had attempted to film the men reported that they had stolen her phone and driven away.
Officers quickly linked the car to a suspect and traced it driving towards Carmarthen and then Llanelli, and a roads policing unit was directed to the area.
The car was stopped, and the two occupants – a 22-year-old from Llanelli, and a 18-year-old from Carmarthen – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They were also both issued with tickets for COVID-19 offences.
T/Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “We are taking the new legislation seriously, and would like to thank the majority of people who are staying home to keep others safe.
“The measures are difficult to adapt to, but it is important that we stay at home to save lives.
“However, there is a minority out there who are under the impression the legislation does not apply to them, and are flouting the law.
“This was the second fine one of these men was issued with in 24 hours, after he showed a clear disregard for all guidelines.”
The men were arrested on suspicion of theft of a mobile phone, and were released under investigation pending further enquiries.
For information about the COVID-19 legislation, and answers to many frequently asked questions, visit https://bit.ly/DPPCovid19
Housing support for residents
SPECIALIST housing support and advice is available to residents in Carmarthenshire who are worried about the coronavirus crisis.
This is an extremely difficult time for residents, and we want to help as much as possible, whether you are a homeowner, a council tenant or a tenant in privately rented accommodation.
We can also help if you are currently homeless or ‘sofa-surfing’ between properties, or maybe you are a key worker and you can’t return home because someone vulnerable lives there.
Whatever your situation, our specialist advice team can provide you with a range of housing options to help you.
It is very important we stay at home at present, and we understand that this can difficult for some.
Please contact us for advice if you are:
• Currently homeless
• Sofa-surfing between different properties
• Can no longer remain at your current home
• Living in a private property and can’t pay the rent
• Having difficulties paying your mortgage
• Work for the NHS, social care or are a key worker that can’t return home because someone vulnerable lives there
Our housing advisors could help to resolve your current issues or find you somewhere temporary and safe to live.
We have already contacted a number of our tenants to see if we can help. If you are experiencing difficulties with your rent, please contact your housing officer directly so they can discuss with you what support is available. All of our officers can be reached by telephone and email.
We are working closely with a number of partner agencies such as Shelter Cymru and are also looking at what we, as a council, can put in place to help residents.
Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “We know that this is a very worrying time for residents, especially when you have a home and family to look after and are concerned about making ends meet.
“However, I want to reassure you that we will do all we can to help you during this difficult time. Making sure that you feel secure in your home is very important.
“Our housing officers will provide as much support as they can and if our council tenants have any concerns about keeping up with payments, please get in touch so we can help explore all of the options available to you.
“I want to reassure our council tenants that they will not lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.”
Please call our housing advice team on 01554 899389, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, or email SCHOptions@carmarthenshire.gov.uk. Outside normal office hours Delta Wellbeing provides an emergency service on 0300 333 2222.
We are recruiting – staff needed
The council is urgently seeking more staff as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
We are looking to recruit people into a number of jobs throughout Carmarthenshire to help keep frontline services running, but particularly need carers, cleaners and catering staff.
No previous experience is needed, as full training will be provided.
The council offers good rates of pay and flexible hours. Full and part-time, permanent and temporary contracts are available.
The council also has vacancies for social workers so if you have the relevant qualifications and experience please get in touch.
Deputy Leader Cllr Mair Stephens, executive board member for recruitment and training, said: “It is vital that we keep our essential frontline services running during this crisis; and as a result, we have some vacancies that we need to fill immediately.
“We may also start to see staff shortages in some areas in the coming weeks, so we need to be prepared to fill these.
“We are urging people who are in a position to apply for these jobs to please contact us, your community needs you. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in these areas as full training will be given.
“As well as recruiting new staff, we are also redeploying staff where possible from non-critical services to other roles as and when needed.
“I want to reassure residents we are doing all we can to protect frontline services during this extremely difficult and uncertain time.”
We want to make the application process as easy as possible, so only the mandatory fields on the application form will need to be completed along with a brief statement. Applicants will be contacted by telephone following their application.
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