A man has been jailed after being convicted of multiple child sexual offences following a forensic and undercover investigation which straddled international policing jurisdictions.
Amanuel Ehdego, 37 (02.12.86) of Derby Road, Enfield, was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, with an extended six-year licence, following a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.
The court heard how Ehdego first came to the attention of police in August 2022 when he engaged with an undercover officer on a chat room. Ehdego believed the person he was chatting with was a 12-year-old girl and he quickly manoeuvred the conversation to sex, encouraging the ‘girl’ to send pictures and videos of herself. He also tried to arrange to meet up so they could have sex.
Ehdego was arrested on 14 September 2022 but refused to engage with police officers. He was released under investigation and work continued. As part of the investigation, his digital devices and phones were seized. When they were examined, detectives discovered 49 indecent images and videos of children.
However, in the interim, Ehdego had attempted to meet with another underage girl after communicating online. This time, he travelled to Scotland believed he would be meeting an 11-year-old girl for sex. In fact, he had been communicating with an adult who called police and Ehedgo was arrested, charged and remanded in custody.
With Ehdego in custody awaiting trial for the offence in Scotland, Met detectives continued to investigate his background. Further work on the devices they had seized during his initial arrest yielded information that Ehdego was paying money to arrange, direct and view live streams of children being sexually abused in the Philippines.
Using the information gleaned, detectives informed the authorities in the Philippines who managed to safeguard 12 children between the age of seven and 18-year-old.
Given the gravity of his offending, the Met bundled all his charges into one criminal case. The weight of evidence against Ehdego meant he had little choice but to plead guilty to all the charges.
In summing up at Edhego’s sentencing hearing, the Judge, Mary Loram KC, praised the police investigation led by PC Gurpreet Singh and said:
“PC Singh conducted a vast amount of work on this case over an 18-month period by viewing life-changing images, over 17,000, which is truly stressful work. He has worked with US Homeland Security and Authorities in Manila tirelessly to protect the public by apprehending and making sure this dangerous individual who has caused serious harm to children was brought to justice. If it were not for the like of PC Singh, these heinous crimes, and reprehensible acts would have continued to be perpetrated.”
PC Gurpreet Singh, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Amanuel Ehdego is a prolific sexual predator who preys on vulnerable children. At each stage of this investigation, further aspects of his depravity were unearthed, which made it even more crucial he was stopped and held to his account for his appalling acts, of which the risk he posed, showed no signs of diminishing.
“This was an incredibly complex investigation which involved police forces in the UK, along with authorities in both the Philippines and United States, who assisted with information requests.
“Our collective aim was to stop Ehdego from abusing children and I am pleased we have been able to do this. I also hope his sentencing sends out a strong message that law enforcement teams are relentless in identifying and arresting those who engage in such activity.”
Amanuel Ehdego was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, with an extended six-year licence and given a sexual harm prevention order. He pleaded guilty to the following offences:
– engaging in sexual communication with a child;
– causing a child (aged between 13 and 15) to view sexual activity;
– three counts of making indecent images of a child;
– paying for sexual services of a girl under the age of 13;
– arrange/facilitate the sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 13;
– attempt to arrange/facilitate the commission of a child sexual offence/sexual assault of a child.
He was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on 22 December 2023.