North Essex paedophile has sentence increased at the High Court

Stuart Edwards has had his jail sentence increased at the high court

Stuart Edwards has had his jail sentence increased at the high court - Credit: Essex Police

A convicted paedophile who was jailed for preying on a boy in north Essex has had his sentence increased at the High Court. 

Stuart Edwards, who used to go by the name Sam Crough, was originally jailed for three years after admitting to five counts of sexual assault, three counts of taking indecent images of a child and one count of voyeurism. 

The sentence was increased to five years by the High Court after it was found to be unduly lenient.

The 34-year-old, formerly of Market Street, Thetford had been arrested in September 2018 after Essex Police received a report he had sexually assaulted a teenage boy in Halstead. 

When he was arrested his laptop and mobile phone were seized and forensically examined. 

A number of videos - including one which showed a teenage boy drying off in a cubicle at a leisure park, and two which showed Edwards sexually abusing two different boys - were found on the devices. 

Officers from the Police Online Investigation Team, which protects children from online child sexual abuse, were able to identify each of the children in the videos.

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Investigating officer detective sergeant Paul Ross, from Essex Police's Management of Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders team (MOSOVO) appealed against the sentence for being unduly lenient.

At the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, January 18, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave, Mr Justice Picken, and Her Honour Judge Dhir QC increased Edwards’ sentence to five years in prison.

DS Ross said: “Stuart Edwards poses a very real danger to children and this decision acknowledges that.

“He documented the abuse he inflicted and now faces the foreseeable future behind bars.

“The victims showed incredible bravery in reporting what had happened to them.

"I hope this decision will represent justice for them.”

Alex Chalk, the solicitor general, said: “Crouch’s appalling behaviour spanned six years, and targeted young victims.

"I welcome this decision to increase the sentence to reflect the severity of his offending.

"I hope that the court’s ruling can bring some comfort to the victims of his predatory offending.”