A “depraved” child rapist has been jailed following an investigation in which detectives scoured through more than a million potentially indecent images.
Dean Edmunds, 36, from south-east London, was sentenced to 18 years for 28 crimes at Croydon Crown Court on Friday.
Investigators found 6,700 illegal images as part of their case against Edmunds.
Among the offences were three counts of rape of a girl under 13, four counts of taking indecent images of a child and intercourse with an animal.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s South Area Public Protection Unit began an investigation into Edmunds in July 2020.
They seized 11 devices with 1.5 million files, and travelled overseas a number of times to interview a victim and her family.
The majority of Edmunds’ rape and assault offences related to one girl who was aged between three and seven years old when the abuse took place. The team continue to provide ongoing support to the victim and her family.
Detective Sergeant Laura Davies, who was the first person the young girl had spoken to about the abuse she had suffered, said: “I’ve been a police officer for almost 20 years, I spent five years in the child abuse team and this case is by far the worst case I have ever investigated. Edmunds groomed his main victim to the point where she was so terrified of Edmunds that she was unable to tell anyone what had happened to her.
“This was an extremely traumatic experience for her but she has shown great courage and bravery throughout this investigation. I wish to thank her for showing such strength and for putting her trust in me as I was the first person she opened up to about what had happened.
“She started to physically shake at the mention of his name during her interview. What is truly heart-breaking is that given the young age of the victims, it is difficult to establish what the full psychological impact will be on them as they grow up.”
The father of one of the victim’s said: “When we were first told about what had happened I screamed in horror, I couldn’t take what I was hearing, I couldn’t comprehend what the police were saying to me. I did not want anyone to say those words to me, but they did and it will forever haunt me.
“I went through weeks of pain, sleepless nights, I could not process it. I doubted myself as a parent, the guilt was too much to bear. I should have been there, I should have stopped it, I should have protected her.
“When my daughter was born, I was new to the whole dad business but the unconditional love I felt for my little girl was like a train hitting me. She was a beautiful little baby, she was my little girl and I cannot describe the anger, upset, disgust and hurt I feel at what that person has done to her and what he has taken away.
“I cannot imagine how she must have felt carrying this around with her, not having told anyone. I feel so sorry for her that she had to bottle this up inside her because she was so scared to say anything to anyone. I will always carry the anguish of what has happened with me, but this is nothing to what my daughter will have to live with for the rest of her life.”