...By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media.
Caerwyn Ash, a former MasterChef contestant and university academic, has been found guilty of possessing child sexual abuse images and attempting to blackmail the police into dropping the charges.
Police discovered the images on Ash’s computer during a search warrant execution at his partner’s address, conducted in connection with other allegations.
Additionally, Ash was convicted of possessing extreme pornography depicting acts of bestiality.
Denials, Self-Representation, and Dramatic Attempt at Blackmail
Throughout the trial at Cardiff Crown Court, Ash denied all charges and represented himself.
The court heard that Ash was arrested in April 2019 after police conducted a search warrant at his partner’s residence in Morrison, seizing electronic devices from a garden office as part of an ongoing investigation.
Examination of a computer hard drive and tower led to the discovery of indecent images and extreme pornography.
Blackmail Threat and Last-Minute Document Submission
In August 2022, Ash was formally charged, and a hearing was scheduled at Swansea Magistrates Court.
However, the day before the hearing, the defendant walked into Swansea Central Police station and handed over a lengthy document.
In the document, Ash threatened to distribute sexually explicit material involving South Wales Police officers to the media worldwide unless legal proceedings against him were halted.
Defendant’s Claims and Verdict
During the trial, Ash claimed he had no knowledge of the images found by the police.
He suggested that numerous individuals had access to the devices over the years and even raised the possibility of the images being planted.
However, the court ultimately found him guilty of two counts of possessing indecent images of children, two counts of possessing extreme pornography, and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Ash was acquitted of two further counts related to indecent images and possessing prohibited images of children.
Sentencing and Remand into Custody
Caerwyn Ash, 41, residing at Kilvey Terrace, St Thomas, Swansea, has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 19.
The conviction marks a significant fall from grace for the former MasterChef contestant and academic, who now faces the consequences of his criminal actions.