Detectives said they were still searching for hundreds more victims in England and Wales.
The number of Edwards’ victims and the 161 offenses to which he pleaded guilty make him one of the most prolific child abusers in British criminal history.
Matthew Falder, a Cambridge graduate, pleaded guilty to 137 charges relating to 46 victims after using anonymous accounts to force young children to perform degrading acts.
In 2016, Richard Huckle was found guilty of 71 counts of sexual offenses against children, committed while posing as a Christian teacher in Malaysia.
The victims “lost trust in the police”
Many of Edwards’ targeted young women self-harmed and reported feeling suicidal. One was so traumatized that she slept with a hammer under her pillow.
Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, Recorder of Cardiff, imposed 13 life sentences for each of the most serious offenses and imposed a minimum prison sentence of 12 years.
She said: “It is clear that he not only derived sexual gratification from his offending but also enjoyed the power and control he had over these young girls.
“His reaction to her distress can properly be described as cruel and sadistic.
“His offending is significantly aggravated by the fact that he was a serving police officer.
“Many of his victims and their families have said that his actions have caused them to lose trust in the police.”
The court was shown some of the videos Edwards had recorded of his victims and in one, a teenage girl can be seen crying and wiping tears from her eyes.
‘I lost my innocence’
In a victim impact statement, she said: “I was a little girl. I feel ashamed, disgusted and abused. “I lost my innocence.”
Many of the victims and their families sat in the packed public gallery for the hearing, but Edwards refused to attend.
Edwards, who joined the force in January 2021 and has since resigned, had previously pleaded guilty to 22 counts of blackmail, 138 sexual offenses against children and a further offense of refusing to disclose the password to a mobile phone and a memory stick. USB.
The court heard all but one of the victims were abused while he was a serving police officer, and he targeted a teenage girl just 17 days after meeting her as part of his duties.