Beds, Herts & Bucks

Chicksands man took photos of himself abusing children

Craig Howe Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Craig Howe has been jailed for 21 years

A man who photographed himself as he sexually abused two young children has been jailed.

Craig Howe, of Bedfordshire, admitted a string of sexual offences involving a boy aged five and a 12-month-old girl.

Luton Crown Court heard logs of his online chats amounted to a "paedophile manual" giving advice to others about how to commit similar offences.

Sending him to prison for 21 years, Judge Mark Bishop said it was the "worst case" he had ever dealt with.

The court heard the 46-year-old former solider was caught by police because of his online conversations with other paedophiles about what he had done.

He sent them photographs of his victims being assaulted, and told them how they could carry out offences.

Police were alerted to the online communications and raided his home in Chicksands.

'Sadistic abuse'

Det Con Kerry Smith, from Bedfordshire Police, said he was "probably the worst child sex offender" the force had ever come across.

He said: "He was having conversations with other sick individuals about sadistic sexual abuse against children.

"The images on his devices were of an extremely graphic nature, which showed the sexual abuse he was committing against very young children."

During mitigation, it was heard Howe, of Luffenham Place, felt "terrible".

He pleaded guilty to the rape of a child under 13, five charges of assault of a child by penetration, causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, two charges of sexual exploitation of a child, possessing a paedophile manual, distributing indecent photos of a child and three charges of making indecent photos of a child.

Howe was sentenced to 21 years in custody and told he would be on licence for a further eight years.

He was also made subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

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