Serial paedophile who abused more than 20 children has ‘unduly lenient’ jail sentence increased

A serial paedophile who forged references as an au pair to abuse more than 20 children has had his “unduly lenient” jail sentence increased to a minimum of 12 years by the Court of Appeal.

Aaron McWilliams (pictured), 29, carried out a campaign of serious sexual abuse against at least 23 children aged from four months to 13 years old, between September 2012 and March 2017.

The “devious” paedophile used false references and fake email accounts to convince seven unsuspecting families to employ him in order to commit his “monstrous” crimes, the Court of Appeal heard.

In March 2016, he was jailed for 32 months for sexually assaulting a four-year-old boy in his care, but the true extent of his crimes was not discovered and McWilliams deceived another family into employing him as a nanny.

McWilliams was jailed for seven years in August 2017 for sexually assaulting their four-year-old daughter, and police then discovered a large number of photos and videos of him abusing children placed in his trust.

He admitted 40 child abuse charges, including rape, attempted rape and sexual assault, and was sentenced to life with a minimum of nine years’ imprisonment, at Woolwich Crown Court, in November last year.

But the Attorney General’s Office challenged McWilliams’ sentence at the Court of Appeal, arguing that it was “unduly lenient”.

In a judgment on Friday, Dame Victoria Sharp, sitting with Mr Justice Sweeney and Mr Justice Foxton, increased McWilliams’ minimum term to 12 years.

The judge said that McWilliams “engaged in a campaign of serious sexual abuse and humiliation of 23 child victims”, having “put himself in a position to commit these offences by exploiting positions of trust he obtained in the homes of seven unsuspecting families”.

Once McWilliams had been employed by one family, “he then used that employment to secure childcare or babysitting work with the friends of his employers,” Dame Victoria said.

She added that, once the photos and videos were discovered on McWilliams’ phone, the families of the victims had been “faced with the unimaginably distressing task of identifying their children in the material recovered from McWilliams’ mobile telephone”.

Dame Victoria said: “The impact of these appalling revelations on the families can scarcely be contemplated.

“A number of the victims have already shown signs of serious psychological harm, and the parents live with the constant dread of further manifestations, and the agonising decision of whether, and if so when, to talk to their children about what happened to them.

“Their victims’ statements describe the devastating impact McWilliams’ offending has had on their lives, and their fears for their children’s future.

“A striking theme of the statements is an unwarranted, but understandable, sense of guilt felt by the parents that someone capable of committing such monstrous acts was able to obtain positions of trust in their homes or in relation to their children.

“However, the parents were the victims of McWilliams’ devious behaviour, and the sophisticated efforts he went to in order to present himself as someone very different from his true self.”

Speaking after the hearing, the Attorney General, Michael Ellis QC, said: “McWilliams abused his position of trust in the most horrific way.

“He took away the innocence of many young children and shattered their lives and their families.

“I am pleased that the court has increased the sentence, and I am grateful for the guidance it gave about the minimum term the most serious sexual and violent offenders should serve.

“I hope this brings some solace to all those who were affected by his despicable crimes.”

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