Former MasterChef contestant jailed after trying to blackmail police over child abuse images

Caerwyn Ash appeared on MasterChef in 2016 Credit: South Wales Police

A former MasterChef contestant has been jailed for possessing child abuse images and blackmailing officers who arrested him for his crimes.

Caerwyn Ash, 41, was a quarter-finalist in the 2016 series of popular BBC culinary show MasterChef.

Prosecutor James Wilson said 20 images and five videos of child abuse, and 50 images and 35 videos involving bestiality were found on a hard drive.

Ash was jailed for three years after he attempted to blackmail police officers who arrested him for possessing child abuse images.Officers also found a computer tower containing 30 images of child abuse and one video, as well as 28 images involving animals and five videos.

Newport Crown Court heard that Ash, from St Thomas, Swansea went to Swansea Central Police Station with a letter the day before he was due to appear at the city's magistrates' court.

Ash, who represented himself in court, was convicted of possessing child abuse images as well as extreme pornography Credit: Media Wales

The court heard that Ash in a letter addressed to the "Head of CID", threatened to "create an earthquake" by publishing compromising material involving police officers engaged in sex acts.

Mr Wilson said: "Ash said he would use a trusted friend in the Press Association to bring the material into the public domain."Ash denied nine charges of possessing indecent images, prohibited images, and extreme pornography, and one of attempting to pervert the court of public justice.He was convicted of two counts of possessing indecent images of children, two counts of possessing extreme pornography, and attempting to pervert the course of public justice.

The university academic, who represented himself, told the court that he had appeared as a "celebrity chef" BBC's Masterchef.He claimed he had cooked Christmas dinners for homeless people and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but maintained he was not responsible for the images.He said: "The defendant has always maintained his innocence and he has never seen any images of this type."Sentencing, Judge Wayne Beard said: "You have not accepted the jury's verdict and in light of that there is no prospect of any rehabilitation taking place by means of the probation service."You created a document which in effect said would result in the release of videos of police officers if the court case was not stopped."I've no doubt your intent was to bring the other charges that you faced to an end."I consider the seriousness includes the nature of the conduct in which you were engage; making threats towards police officers involved in aspects of their private lives - whether true or not."You indicated you had already provided members of the press with videos of those police officers. This was a deliberate, manipulative and cynical attempt."However it was an attempt that was very unlikely ever to succeed in any way, shape or form."Ash sentenced to three years in prison and was handed a sexual harm prevention order, banning him from living with children under 16 without social services permission and limiting his internet use.He was acquitted to two further counts of making indecent images of children, and possessing prohibited images of children.