February 2019

Dundee pervert jailed for raping child and having sex with three other kids

A Dundee predator who targeted girls on Snapchat before having underage sex with four teenagers and raping one of them was today jailed for 10 years.

Darren Edwards contacted victims, one of whom was as young as 11, and sent some of them indecent images, sexualised messages and tried them to get some of them to send explicit pictures to him.

A judge told him: “You have been convicted in all of 17 charges concerning criminal conduct directed towards 13 young and older children, all under the age of 16 years.”

Lord Armstrong said a background report prepared on Edwards revealed that he continued to deny his guilt.

The judge said: “I am satisfied that in your case there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial sentence.”

Edwards , 21, denied a string of charges during an earlier trial at the High Court in Edinburgh but was convicted of 10 offences of sending sexual material via Snapchat and a further two of sending indecent text messages.

He was also found guilty of four offences of having sex with girls who were under 16 and of raping one of them in 2017 in Dundee.

First offender Edwards was acquitted of a further 14 charges after the jury returned its verdict in the case.

One girl was aged 14 when she said Edwards contacted her through Snapchat. She told the court: “I was unsure how he got my user name. He told me one of my friends.”

She said she had not given him her user name and knew nothing about him initially. She said that there was not much contact at the start but she “warmed up to him”. She said Edwards told her he was 15 and she informed him he was 14.

The witness, now aged 17, was asked if there was anything that caused her concern and replied: “He had sent explicit photos once or twice, like pictures of his penis and stuff.”

She said: “I think it was two or three times before I told him to stop. I didn’t like it.”

She said Edwards asked her to send him sexually explicit pictures of her body parts but she refused.

She said: “I told him I would not send anything like that. He continued to ask but my answer was the same every time.”

She said Edwards invited her to come over to his home and she thought it was to talk but sex took place during the visit early in 2016.

One woman discovered that Edwards had been in touch with two of her daughters. She said last year the older girl, who was 15, sent her a message revealing she had slept with someone and wanted to know if she would be angry with her.

She then learnt from her 13-year-old daughter that an older person called Darren Edwards had been messaging her in a bid to meet her and confirmed it was the same person involved with her older girl before going to the police.

Edwards, formerly of Whitfield Gardens, in Dundee, admitted that he had sex with one 14-year-old girl in 2016 with her consent after having “general conversation” with her on Snapchat.

He said he knew her age and told the court: “I wasn’t aware it was wrong. I knew it was frowned upon.

She was fine with it. She told me she had sex before.”

He went on to have underage sex with another 14-year-old girl in April 2016 at a house in Dundee who he messaged through Snapchat.

Edwards also had underage sex with another girl who was aged 14 and 15 at a wooded area in the city and sent her explicit pictures and sexualised messages via the app.

He also raped the girl after carrying an unwanted sex act out on her in 2017.

He also sent indecent images to a 15-year-old girl in January and February last year and had sexual intercourse with her in Dundee’s Caird Park.

Edwards offending began in February 2013 when he was aged just 15 and continued to February last year.

Defence counsel Jonathan Crowe said Edwards had learnt “a salutary lesson” from his experience in court.

“He comes to court with the expectation that the imposition of a custodial sentence is almost inevitable,” he said.

He was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.