How new technology brought ‘prolific’ Pembrokeshire child rapist to justice after 12 years | ITV News Wales


imageA “prolific” child rapist has been jailed for life after law enforcement agencies from across the world worked together to track him down.Martyn Armstrong, from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire , shared images of himself raping and sexually assaulting children on the dark web, but masked his own identity in the images using a distortion technique.Police officers had been trying to identify the man in the abuse material ever since it was first shared to the dark web in 2010.In 2017, Italian investigators linked the name “Martyn” to the person who took the images, but they were unable to progress the case further.That same year, an officer from France managed to identify the exact Pembrokeshire beach which had been in some of the images, based on the geology of the rocks.But the case remained unsolved until 2022, when National Crime Agency investigators created a new programme which finally disabled the image distortion technique.This revealed the face of the offender – but his identity, and that of his victim, was still unknown.Police bodycam footage shows the moment Armstrong was arrested after 12 years of investigation The team then worked on the name “Martyn” and established that Martyn Armstrong had links to the beach they had identified, by matching an image from Armstrong’s social media profile with the abuse images.The 50-year-old was stopped and arrested by South Wales Police officers while driving on the M4 on 30 July 2022.Following his arrest, investigators found a number of devices when they searched his home, including one of the two cameras he used in 2010, which was forensically matched to the camera which took the images.The original images he’d posted were also recovered from a laptop.In an impact statement, one of the abuse victims said: “It feels like I’m living in a nightmare.””I’ve been betrayed, manipulated and deceived”, they continued.

“I can’t find the light in situations anymore.”Armstrong admitted a number of offences including 20 counts of raping a child under 13, sexual assault, causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and indecent images of children offences.At Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday (Jan 4), he was sentenced to life in prison with no minimum term.’Horrific’ abuse National Crime Agency Operations Manager Martin Ludlow said: “It is over 17 years since Armstrong began to abuse these young children.I don’t believe he thought he would ever be caught and that the distortion techniques he used would protect him.

“However, the NCA and our international partners were determined to ensure his evil actions did not go unpunished.“Our commitment to identifying him was unwavering and ultimately, NCA officers developed a completely new programme which led to his unmasking.Investigators did a remarkable job in piecing together limited information to finally reveal that Armstrong was the person in these images.”Lucy Dowdall of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The abuse that Armstrong subjected his victims to was horrific.“Despite the passage of time and the steps he had taken to hide his identity, the CPS built a robust case against him resulting in guilty pleas.“The investigation conducted by the NCA officers was exceptional, and we thank them for their diligent work.”Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.

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