Rapist photographer who lured models to studio with fake website is jailed

Paul Brown lured women to his studio then raped them (PA)

A sexual predator set up a fake modelling site then raped women he lured to his studio has been jailed.

Paul Brown, also known as Paul D Smart, was convicted of 15 counts of rape relating to six women and six counts of voyeurism relating to five others at Exeter Crown Court.

Over the course of five years the photographer raped and sexually assaulted his victims under the pretence of gaining them a modelling career.

Devon and Cornwall Police described Brown, 41, of Okehampton, as “one of the most prolific sex offenders” in the force’s history.

The studio Paul Brown lured women to for sex through a fake modelling website. (PA)

Brown used a fake website - Model South West - to “honey-trap” women, who he then referred back to himself as potential models for pornographic casting shoots, often involving him as a participant, police said.

He made them sign a non-disclosure agreement and kept records of his sexual activity in a little black book and a photo album.

The women were falsely promised that footage would be sent to Model South West to be considered.

Officers initially arrested Brown in October 2017 following one complaint, then identified further victims, leading to him being charged in January 2019.

He was convicted of rape, sexual assault, and voyeurism, following a six-week trial and jailed for 21 years.

Inside the studio where Paul Brown sexually assaulted a string of women (PA)
Photo issued by Devon and Cornwall Police of Paul Brown, also known as Paul D Smart, who was jailed for 21 years. (PA)

Detective Inspector Praveen Naidoo said: “Paul Brown was one of the most prolific sex offenders in the history of Devon and Cornwall Police.

“He raped and sexually assaulted women over a period of five years. He created a web of deceit to coerce women, many of whom were vulnerable, into allowing him to sexually assault and rape them.

“It wasn’t until one brave young woman came forward that police were able to unravel the web that he had created.”

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Police said Brown rented a unit in Okehampton where he worked as a photographer, though it is not believed he had any formal training or qualifications and his main line of work was in IT.

He set up Model South West as an agency that promoted models across a range of genres, from clothed and lingerie to adult and pornographic shots.

The vast majority of victims applied to Model South West and were referred to Brown for a photoshoot.

Detective Sergeant Emma Lefort, the deputy senior investigating officer, said: “This was a particularly unusual case and one which helps to dispel some of the myths that surround the subject of rape and other sexual offences.”

Police thanked victims for their courage and bravery in speaking out.

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