Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 13:12 UK

Freckle clue child abuser jailed

Dean Hardy
Hardy could be banned from travelling abroad

A paedophile who was caught out by distinctive freckles on his hand has been jailed for six years.

Dean Hardy, 50, from Orpington, south-east London, took photos of young girls being sexually abused during a business trip to Thailand.

A police forensics team found freckles on a male thumb in the photos matched those on Hardy's left hand.

Hardy, who admitted indecent assault and taking indecent photos, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.

The court had been told 63 indecent photos were found on memory cards from Hardy's cameras and his computer hard drive.

Judge Gregory Stone said in sentencing the father-of-one had only pleaded guilty after overwhelming evidence it was his hand in the images.

"As many as four children were involved in these crimes," the judge said.

"This was sex tourism of the most offensive kind.

Police photo of freckles on Dean Hardy's left thumb
Freckles and blemishes on the male thumb were identical to Hardy's

"You were plainly exploiting their and their families' poverty and vulnerability without caring what harm you were inflicting on these children, and caring only for your own depraved gratification."

Two photographs showed South East Asian girls, aged between eight and 10, being abused by an adult.

Hardy's face was not in the photographs but a forensic anthropologist found the freckles and blemishes on the male thumb were identical to his.

Prosecuting, Peter Zinner, said the case was "the first of its kind".

The Orpington father had been careful not to show his face in photographs

Police also found evidence the furniture salesman had travelled to Thailand between March and April 2004, when the pictures were taken.

Hardy pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault of a girl under the age of 13, four counts of taking indecent photographs of children and one count of possessing indecent photographs.

He will be on the sex offenders' register for life and was also banned from working with children or being in the company of a minor under the age of 16 without the permission of their guardian.

The Crown Prosecution Service also intends to apply for a foreign travel ban to stop Hardy committing further offences abroad.

Print Sponsor

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