A Pembrokeshire man has been jailed for life for a series of appalling sexual offenses against young children, after investigators used new technology to unmask him.
Global law enforcers had been trying to ascertain the identity of 50-year-old Martyn Armstrong for years after abuse material was posted to dark web pedophile site The Love Zone back in 2010.
The challenge was that the perpetrator had managed to distort his face in the images to avoid identification, according to the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
Although Italian investigators linked the name “Martyn” to the perp back in 2017, and French colleagues later identified a beach on the Welsh coast of Pembrokeshire as a possible crime scene, the case remained unsolved until last year.
That’s when the NCA used innovative new technology to unscramble the image distortion technique Armstrong had used to disguise his identity.
Investigators then apparently deployed more traditional policing techniques to search for a “Martyn” with links to that part of the Welsh coast – matching an image from his social media profile with the abuse material.
Following Armstrong’s arrest on July 30 2022, officers found and forensically matched one of the two cameras he had used to take the images in 2010. They also found the original images on a laptop and, in the process of their investigation, identified two previously unknown child victims, the NCA said.
Armstrong pleaded guilty to multiple sex offenses against children under 13 and was yesterday sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court to life with no minimum term.
“It is over 17 years since Armstrong began to abuse these young children. I don’t believe he thought he would ever be caught and that the distortion techniques he used would protect him,” said NCA operations manager, Martin Ludlow.
“However, our commitment to identifying him was unwavering and ultimately, NCA officers developed a completely new program which led to his unmasking. Investigators did a remarkable job in piecing together limited information to finally reveal that Armstrong was the person in these images.”