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Former Senedd lobbyist jailed for child abuse Images

A FORMER Senedd lobbyist, Daran Hill, aged 52, has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for making and distributing indecent images of children, some as young as three years old. The sentencing took place at Newport Crown Court, where shocking details of his criminal activities were brought to light.

Hill was apprehended by National Crime Agency officers in August 2021, and upon investigation, they discovered 62 indecent images including eight in the most severe category after being arrested. Many of these repugnant images were shared on the social messaging platform, Kik.

The court heard that Hill had shared multiple videos and images, some falling under the Category A classification, which involves children aged seven to 12. The youngest victim depicted in the images was a mere three-year-old girl. The extent of his actions came to light when police arrived at his residence in Cardiff.

Upon arrest, Hill expressed remorse, admitting to the officers: “I know why you’re here. I made a mistake. I only did it a couple of times. I don’t know why I have done it. I didn’t even enjoy it. I can’t believe you’re here for such a small amount.” His defence attorney, Jeffery Jones, later clarified that Hill was referring only to the images on his iPhone.

During the court proceedings, it was revealed that Hill used his former work email address to register his Kik account and shared explicit content with up to 96 other users on the platform. Shockingly, he also provided advice to others on how to search for and find indecent images of children online, making him an active participant in a deeply disturbing network.

The court also heard that Hill was facing personal struggles, including the loss of his mother and a close friend, which had severely affected his mental state. The pandemic further exacerbated his isolation, leading to increased alcohol consumption. However, the judge, Recorder of Cardiff Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, emphasised that these mental health issues did not diminish his culpability.

The judge acknowledged the irreparable damage Hill’s actions had caused to his immediate family, career, and financial security. Despite his expressions of regret, the court found that he had caused immense suffering to the victims, seeking sexual gratification at the expense of vulnerable children.

In addition to the prison sentence, Hill has been subjected to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which will remain in effect for 15 years, aiming to protect society from potential future harm.

Daran Hill was well-known in Welsh politics, playing significant roles in two Welsh devolution referendum campaigns. He served as the national organiser of the Yes for Wales campaign during the first devolution referendum in 1997 and as campaign director for the Yes campaign in the 2011 vote on granting the assembly law-making powers.

Prior to his conviction, Hill held the position of managing director at Positif, a company providing advice to businesses seeking to lobby Welsh politicians. His fall from grace is a tragic reminder of the importance of upholding moral integrity and the devastating consequences that such abhorrent actions can bring to both individuals and society at large.