July 2023

Political consultant distributed child abuse images of children as young as three

A paedophile who used to work as a top political consultant distributed sickening images of child abuse as young as three years old to others on the internet.

He played a significant role in two Welsh devolution campaigns and served as an advisor to the Welsh Conservatives.

Daran Hill, 52, was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency on August 25, 2021.

A search of a white iPhone and Acer laptop revealed he was in possession of indecent images of children. It was also discovered he had been distributing the images to other perverted individuals using apps such as Kik and WhatsApp.

A sentencing hearing at Newport Crown Court on Tuesday heard that between August 7 and August 21, 2021, Hill had distributed five category A images. Between January 11, 2017, and August 25, 2021, he made eight category A images, four category B images, and 50 category C images.

Prosecutor Owen Williams said Hill’s behaviour came to light in 2021 when the NCA received information that Kik accounts LuciusNero8 and LuciusNero5 accounts had uploaded indecent images of children. The LuciusNero5 account used an email address of daran@positive.cymru and linked to the defendant’s then home address of Taff Terrace, Cardiff.

Upon attending the house NCA officers were invited in by Hill, who said: “I know why you’re here. I’m sorry I made a mistake, I only done it a couple of times. I done it on this phone. I’m surprised you’re here for just a small amount. I don’t know why I done it, I don’t even enjoy it.”

The images found on his devices including children as young as three years old. Videos found on his phone showed children as young as seven years old being sexually abused by adults, which he also distributed.

He sent messages to another individual providing advice on how to search for and obtain indecent images of children and used the search term “teens” on the internet.

In a police interview Hill admitted joining specific Kik messenger groups knowing they consisted of people who were sharing indecent images of children. He also admitted sharing indecent images of children with other users.

The defendant, of Cae Melyn, Llangyfelach, Swansea pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and distributing indecent images of children and was of previous good character.

Hill was the national organiser of the Yes for Wales campaign for the first devolution referendum in 1997 then campaign director of the Yes campaign in the 2011 vote on giving the assembly primary legislative powers. The former Labour party member later joined the Conservatives and in 2020 said he offered his “services and loyalty” to the party.

He was managing director at Positif, which advised companies seeking to lobby Welsh politicians. The month after his arrest he resigned as director of the company, which was renamed Camlas later that year.

Sentencing, the Recorder of Cardiff Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke said there were “a number of significant aggravating features” in the case including the age of the children depicted and the fact he had been distributed.

She added: “Those who view child sexual abuse images contribute to the trade of child abuse images therefore the abuse of children. Their suffering is made worse by being being viewed by someone like you for their own sexual gratification.”

Hill was sentenced to an immediate custodial sentence of three years and four months imprisonment. He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and sex offender notification requirements for life.