Wales

Paedophile foster carer Christopher Purnell is jailed

Christopher Purnell Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Christopher Purnell's sex offending dated back to 1982, the court heard

A "champion" foster carer has been jailed for seven and a half years for sex offences against children.

Christopher Purnell, 62, from Minyrhose, Ystradgynlais, was downloading child abuse images until days before his arrest.

Purnell, who once set up a helpline for children in distress, was convicted of 22 offences at Swansea Crown Court.

They included indecency with a child, indecent assault, sexual activity with a child and making indecent photos.

The jury heard police checks on Purnell's computers found he had trawled the internet for indecent images.

But he denied the offences, claiming he had been researching material for a book he was writing on naturalism.

'Belongs in jail'

One victim told the court Purnell had taken photographs of him naked when he was a boy, telling him he had a customer who would pay for them.

The man said he agreed to pose because he thought the money might lead to a better life and Purnell had threatened to have him put into a remand home if he did not cooperate.

He also got a teenage boy drunk and the boy woke up the following morning without any pyjamas on and "feeling really bad".

The court heard Purnell, who was a chairman of a foster carers' association, boasted to one boy about his importance in fostering, and how he worked with council social services.

John Hipkin, prosecuting, said Purnell's sex offending dated back to 1982, when he was convicted of indecently assaulting a boy.

He was also found guilty of making indecent photographs of a child in 2012, as well as 20 crimes in between.

After the jury returned guilty verdicts, one of Purnell's victims said: "No-one could say anything against him in those days, he was a champion of fostering. And no-one was going to believe what I had to say."

"Now, Purnell is where he belongs, in jail," he added.