beast caged | 

Child rapist once suspected to be Irish is tracked down after 10-year international probe

Martyn Armstrong from Wales was jailed for life after pleading guilty to 30 charges

Eamon DillonSunday World

A PAEDOPHILE has been jailed for life after a 10-year investigation to track him down from child abuse photos posted online.

At one point it was suspected the child rapist could be Irish when a French officer found beach rocks in one photo could only have come from Ireland or Wales.

Yesterday Martyn Armstrong from Wales was jailed for life after pleading guilty at Cardiff Crown Court on 21 September 2022 to 30 charges including 20 of raping a child under 13.

It brings an end to a marathon investigation in which police across the world had been trying to identify the man in the abuse material since it was posted in 2010.

The abuse began 17 years ago in June 2005 and continued to February 2011.

The images were initially sent to police agencies by Australian Federal Police in 2013, after they were found posted on dark web site, The Love Zone.

Some of the images showed the rape and sexual abuse of a toddler but, at that time, the perpetrator could not be identified because the images had been distorted.

In 2017 Italian investigators linked the name “Martyn” to the person who took the images, but they were unable to make any more progress.

The same year a French investigator worked on identifying a beach which had been seen in some images linked to the offender and found the beach in the photo must either be in Ireland or Wales.

He compared them to images of over 60 beaches before making an exact match on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.

The case remained unsolved until 2022, when investigators with the UK’s National Crime Agency finally disabled the image distortion technique and revealed Armstrong's face.

In trying to identify the man they knew only as ‘Martyn’ they found that a Martyn Armstrong had links to the beach, by matching an image from his social media profile with the abuse images.

The 50-year-old was then arrested and investigators found a number of devices in Armstrong’s home, including a camera used to make the abuse images.

The original indecent images of children he’d posted were also recovered from a laptop.

Investigators also discovered material showing Armstrong abusing two previously unknown child victims saved on his devices.

“All three victims were spoken to and safeguarded,” according to an NCA statement.

“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,” said NCA Operations Manager Martin Ludlow.

“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.”

“We will continue to work together and do all we can to bring offenders like Armstrong to justice and protect innocent children from child sexual abuse.”

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