April 2005

Rapist jailed for porn ‘library’

A child rapist has been jailed for possessing a “library” of more than 1.5m pornographic photos.

Stephen Mertens, 51, from Redfield, Bristol, was jailed for 10 years in October 2004 after admitting two counts of raping a girl under the age of 10.

Last week he pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing indecent images of children, and 37 sample counts of making or possessing the images.

On Monday he was jailed for four years in addition to the 10-year sentence.

Bristol Crown Court heard the images found were believed to be the largest individual collection of child pornography in the UK.

The court was told Mertens, a former Conservative Party worker and security guard, operated an internet forum group for those with “perverted interests” in children.

Stolen identity

Prosecuting, Robert Davies told the court Mertens disappeared after he was arrested on suspicion of rape in 1990 and lived under a stolen identity in Jersey before moving to Bristol.

Using the alias Richard Dirk Villain, he was not traced until his wife’s credit card was used in 2003 to access a child pornography website.

When Mertens was arrested, a large amount of indecent photos were found on his computers and his true identity was revealed through fingerprint analysis.

Sentencing him, Judge David Ticehurst called Mertens “a serious organiser of material attractive to paedophiles” and a “serious and significant risk to children and to the abuse of them”.

He said there had been no indication of remorse or regret, and that some of the images involved were in the most serious category.

Mertens was banned from using computers or being alone with anyone under the age of 16, and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life. 

July 2004

Ex-Tory official jailed for rape

An ex-Tory party official who went on the run after raping a six-year-old girl has been jailed for 10 years.

Stephen Mertens, 53, was arrested in May 1990 while secretary of the Hackney and South Shoreditch Conservative Association.

He was granted bail and went into hiding for 13 years using a false name, before being arrested for another matter in July 2003.

His victim, now 24, was in court at the Old Bailey as Mertens was jailed.

Mertens of Morse Road, Bristol, sexually abused the youngster between the ages of six and nine.

Campaigning councillor

During the latter part of the sex attacks he was campaigning with his wife to be a councillor.

He was rearrested in Bristol where he was living under an assumed name, said Anthony Orchard, prosecuting.

Police identified him using forensic evidence.

Mertens pleaded guilty to two charges of rape between June1986 and May 1990.

Four charges of indecent assault involving the same girl and one other were left on the court file not to be proceeded with.

Two further charges of indecent assault on another young girl, which he denied, were also left on the court file.