Okehampton photographer is jailed for 21 years for raping six woman

Friday 7th February 2020 12:14 pm
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Jailed — Paul Brown ()

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AN OKEHAMPTON photographer who deceived models into taking their clothes off and having sex with him has been jailed for 21 years.

 Paul Brown set up an elaborate con in which he convinced women that they could find fame and fortune as models if they took part in his casting couch sessions.

 He founded an online modelling agency which contacted women and offered them the chance to become professional models. He hid his connection to the agency so the victims had no idea he was running it secretly.

 The agency told the models they had to go to his studio in Okehampton for a test shoot but when they got there Brown used a mixture a flattery and false promises to make them go further than they wanted to.

 He told them they could have lucrative careers in the adult entertainment industry but only if they took part either in naked shoots or if they had sex with him.

 He was jailed at Exeter Crown Court as several of his victims watched from the public gallery and the back of the court.

 He was branded as a pathological liar who had treated the women with contempt and used deceit to deprive them of informed consent.

 Brown, who used the false name of Paul Smart, persuaded six women to take part in what he called adult casting sessions in which he filmed himself having sex with them in what he called POV or point of view shots.

 He got another five women to pose naked and then took close ups of their genitals without them realising what he was doing.

 Brown invented two fictional women, who supposedly ran the Model South West (MSW) agency, but the messages he sent to potential models on Facebook actually came from Brown himself.

 The women all thought the material would be sent to the agency, which would find them work. In reality, Brown kept the images for his own sexual gratification.

 Some of the models were lured back to his studio by messages from the modelling agency saying the sex scenes had to be re-shot.

 One model who was reluctant to strip naked heard Brown call MSW and pretend to have a conversation with the agency about how she was ideal for nude work.

 The models came from all over Devon and were of all ages and sizes, ranging from 20 to the 60s, Many were vulnerable and insecure about their bodies and were fooled by Brown’s smooth talking and flattery.

 None of them ever received any offers of work and none of them received any of the money which he promised would follow.

 Brown kept a record of his sexual conquests in a ’black book’ which recorded details of some of the rape victims. It showed he had been using different aliases while contacting women for years.

The book contained the names, ages, physical details of Brown’s partners and included a mark out of ten for their performance. The book even included his own wife, who scored nine out of ten.

 Brown joked with police in one interview that he was not Harvey Weinstein but employed a classic casting couch technique of offering fame and fortune in exchange for sex. The couch actually came from Ikea.

 He set himself up as a photographer despite having little formal training and a background as an IT adviser, at one stage working for the NHS in Exeter.

 Brown committed the offences while running his studio at the Fatherford Farm trading estate in Okehampton between 2015 and 2017.

 The police were first alerted in 2017 by one of the rape victims who went to a genuine modelling shoot with a professional photographer a few days afterwards.

 She realised that what Brown had done amounted to a sexual assault and went to the police, who arrested him and seized the black book.

 Police fear he still has access to some of the images of the women on two cloud databases run by Crystal Hosting and Google Drive which experts have been unable to access because he did not give them the access codes.

 Brown, aged 41, was found guilty of 15 rapes against six different women and voyeurism against five other women.

 He pleaded guilty to one count of voyeurism, which involved him installing a hidden camera at his home to spy on a female visitor in the bathroom.

 He was jailed for 21 years by Judge David Evans, who put him on the sex offenders register for life.

 He told him: ‘You fantasised about a scenario of taking advantage of the women you photographed. They were all quite understandably convinced by your rigorously and carefully planned deception that the agency was real.

 ‘Most felt uneasy and some felt under pressure and even intimidated by the situation. Everything they did at the studio was at your direction, but it was all a very convincing fraud.

 ‘You are manifestly a compulsive liar and fantasist. You are also that very dangerous thing, an extremely convincing and persuasive liar. You gave the impression of being a professional photographer with long experience of the glamour and pornography industries.

 ‘It was a complete fabrication, but it was all a well-planned and well rehearsed fabrication. You deceived many people and your purpose was your own sexual gratification.

 ‘Your contempt for the individuality and humanity of the women who you deliberately deceived was breath-taking. It included your essential contempt for their informed consent.

 ‘I have read all the victim personal statements and the harm you caused was profound. Nobody should be tempted to underestimate the harm you caused.’

David Sapiecha, prosecuting, said the victims will provide impact statements for the sentencing hearing.

 He said Brown has previous convictions for fraud which they were not told about previously because they were not relevant.

 They date from 1999 to 2002 and involved him using false names and fictional companies to obtain £14,000 worth of computer equipment.

Kelly Scrivener, defending, says he now acknowledged the effect of his offending on the victims and the bravery which they showed in going to the police and giving evidence at his trial.

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