'Dangerous' Weston paedophile jailed for 13 years
PUBLISHED: 16:39 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:42 08 June 2018
A 'dangerous and predatory man' from Weston-super-Mare who committed 'abhorrent offences' against a young child will spend more than a decade behind bars.
Stephen Merrett, aged 63, was jailed for 13 years and four months years at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) after admitting 12 counts of sexual offences.
He pleaded guilty to charges including rape, sexual assault and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity – plus six counts of making or distributing indecent images of children.
Merrett was arrested in March as part of a police sting which centred on a group of people creating and sharing indecent images of children online, and involved several forces across the country.
After his disgusting online behaviour was discovered, police executed a warrant on his home.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary then found a child who was being abused by Merrett, triggering safeguarding measures.
Detective Sergeant Matthew Shaw said: “Stephen Merrett is a dangerous and predatory man who’s been convicted of some truly abhorrent offences.
“The wider police investigation into the sharing and distributing of indecent images led to Merrett’s arrest and from this we were able to identify a young child he was abusing.
“Along with our partner agencies, we took immediate steps to protect the child from further harm.
“The victim and their family continue to be supported by trained professionals.”
Upon his eventual release from prison, Merrett will serve an extended licence period of six years and eight months.
He will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
DS Shaw added: “This conviction shows the effectiveness of cross-border policing and is a testament to the hard work of the officers, Detective Constable Kelly-Ann Holdsworth and Detective Constable Claire Millington in the case.”