Paedophile who ran day camps in Bushey sentenced to 138 years jail in Spain for abusing 36 more children

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Paedophile who ran day camps in Bushey sentenced to 138 years jail in Spain for abusing 36 more children

Ben Lewis, who changed his surname to Rose to work in Madrid, found guilty of eight counts of making child pornography.

Ben Lewis, who changed his name to Ben Rose in Spain
Ben Lewis, who changed his name to Ben Rose in Spain

A paedophile convicted in the UK who went to abuse 36 children in Madrid has been sentenced to 138 years in jail.

Ben Lewis, co-founder of LL Camps in Bushey, was handed a two-year prison sentence in 2016 after naked images of three and four-year-old girls were discovered on his mobile phone.

Yesterday, Thursday May 26, he was warned he faced the next two decades behind bars in Spain after being found guilty of abusing the trust of his employers to commit a new string of crimes against children as young as seven.

Three Spanish judges found him guilty of eight counts of making child pornography, a crime of inflicting degrading treatment on another person, 32 privacy offences and one count of forgery.

As well as being handed a lengthy prison sentence, he was also ordered to pay his victims compensation ranging from £2,500 to just over £5,000 each.

He faked documentation to work in a school in Madrid under the name Ben Rose, where he abused children aged between four and eight, the court was told. Although a Spanish police statement did not name Lewis, officials said the suspect was previously “sentenced in his country of origin to a two-year prison sentence for possession of images of child sexual exploitation”.

Spain’s National Police said he had falsified documents which would have revealed a history of child abuse as well as changing his name to get a job.

This allowed him to take advantage of his status as a teacher in order to “generate an enormous amount of material that he disseminated in hidden paedophile-themed forums” on the dark web, said officials.

An inquiry was opened last year into the alleged offences when Australian detectives notified Spanish officials that a network of paedophile material could be based in Spain.

An operation was launched to trace the suspect. Police say the material led them to believe that the offender was working in a Madrid school, and that the images were taken on a phone that used an English operating system.

After identifying the school, officials ran background checks on all those who worked there and discovered that one of them appeared to have falsified documents to allow him to work with children. Lewis also worked as an au pair. 

His home was raided, where officials say they found abuse material on 10 different devices.

Lewis was held in El Soto prison, outside Madrid, while he awaited trial.

Ben David Lewis, as he was known before he left the UK, was arrested in August 2015 after a worker at a summer camp he founded, LL Camps in Bushey, Hertfordshire, found naked photos of children as young as three on his iPhone.

Sandra Vicente told St Albans Crown Court she felt like her brain had been “polluted” after chancing upon the snaps.

She was given the phone and entry PIN by the then-26-year-old to play music at a children’s party but found the images in the deleted items after “getting nosey” and went to police.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of downloading indecent images and one of taking indecent images but was spared prison after claiming he wanted to get married and have children.

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender indefinitely.

The American-style summer camp he set up with a friend was closed down by Ofsted.

He changed his name by deed poll the day after his conviction.

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