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Child rapist 'is unlikely to ever be freed'

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: June 22, 2012

DEPRAVED: Paedophile Darren Leggett raped three children

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A PAEDOPHILE who raped three young children before attempting to trade videos of his abuse on the internet has been jailed.

Police said the crimes of Darren Leggett, 32, from Yalding, who befriended a family before subjecting their children to six years of abuse, were among the most serious they had dealt with.

At Maidstone Crown Court yesterday Leggett was given an indeterminate sentence. He will have to serve a minimum of seven years although prosecutors have said he is unlikely to ever be freed.

Passing sentence Judge Philip Statman said: "You subjected children to every sexual indignity I could think of."

Leggett was arrested after an anonymous tip-off was made about depraved material on two websites he had created. Child exploitation officers and Kent Police then traced the content to the Mount Avenue home unemployed Leggett shared with his parents.

There officers discovered he had made 36 films which showed him abusing the children, one just six years old.

In a bag found in Leggett's bedroom they also discovered a knife, cable ties, lubricant and more than ten pairs of boys' underwear. Officers also found a message Leggett had sent from his mobile phone that he had been looking for children to "rape, kill and eat".

The February raid was the culmination of an operation to trap Leggett, which included a police officer posing as a paedophile.

Andrew Esply, prosecuting said: "A call was made. In it the defendant said he was interested in having sex with children being offered by the undercover officer and the defendant said he wanted the 'full monty'".

Leggett offered the undercover officer videos of his own abusive acts which covered some of the 31 sex offences he would later plead guilty to including rape, sexual assault, arranging a child for a sexual offence, and possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Leggett began abusing his victims after being invited into their parents' home near Maidstone in 2005. He became so trusted by the family he went on holidays with them and sometimes slept in the same room as one of the children.

Suspicions were raised after one of the children told a teacher about the abuse. Leggett was arrested in July last year but a search of his property failed to find evidence of abuse.

Leggett's defence counsel, David Cartwright, said: "In a perverse way the abuse occurred in a context of affection. He loved the family and their children."

Leggett stared ahead blankly as the court heard that some of the videos showed his victims in pain and crying.

He put titles on the films including "what enjoyment that was" and dates of rape offences.

Leggett's websites included chat rooms and space for adverts where paedophiles were encourage to trade children.

Following sentencing Det Chief Inspector Andy Pritchard said Leggett's crimes were among the most serious Kent Police had dealt with in a long time.

He said: "Leggett is someone who has abused children for a long period of time and who has groomed his way into the family.

"He was also keen to encourage the abuse of these children with strangers."

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