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Depraved' sex tourist caught freckle-handed

PUBLISHED: 15:51 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 16 August 2010

A sex tourist snared by the freckles on his hand as he molested a young Thai girl on film has been jailed for six years. Dean Hardy, 49, of Charterhouse Road, Orpington, took photographs of himself abusing pre-pubescent girls on a trip to Asia, hoping to

A sex tourist snared by the freckles on his hand as he molested a young Thai girl on film has been jailed for six years.

Dean Hardy, 49, of Charterhouse Road, Orpington, took photographs of himself abusing pre-pubescent girls on a trip to Asia, hoping to swap the snaps with his perverted friends.

Hardy, who flew to Thailand under the guise of a businessman, even snapped away as a friend raped a youngster on camera.

Police found the photo of Hardy's hand by chance when they raided his home after he downloaded child porn from the internet.

An expert studied the image and confirmed it was the furniture dealer's hand - a legal first.

Jailing Hardy, Judge Gregory Stone told him: "This was sex tourism of the most offensive kind. You were plainly exploiting the girls and their families' poverty and vulnerability without caring what harm you were inflicting on these children, and caring only for your own depraved gratification.

"These children were debased and humiliated to satisfy your sexual desires."

Hardy, who runs a business importing Far Eastern furniture, travelled to the popular holiday destination in December 2002 and again in March 2004, hunting for impoverished girls to abuse.

In 2007, the Met's Paedophile Unit raided Hardy's home and seized pictures of him molesting four Thai girls as young as eight and two of the 63 snaps showed a distinctive adult hand. With the help of an expert forensic anthropologist, police confirmed it was Hardy's.

Hardy was banned from working with children and put on the Sex Offenders' Register for life. He admitted two counts of indecent assault, four counts of taking indecent photos of children and one of possession of such images.

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