A PERVERTED pensioner has been locked up indefinitely for a sickening catalogue of child abuse that a judge said was among the worst he had ever seen.
Paedophile Francis Swales was told he may never be released after being jailed at Teesside Crown Court.
The 65-year-old abused children and even filmed many of his crimes.
In total, six youngsters were victims of Swales’ sex crimes.
Family members of Swales’ victims sobbed as harrowing details of the offences were read out in the courtroom.
Police discovered he had amassed a hoard of more than 9,000 indecent images of children on computer equipment including many of the victims.
Swales, of Wensleydale Street, Hartlepool, was jailed for public protection, which means he will only be released when officials believe he no longer poses a risk to others.
He must serve at least seven years before he is even considered for parole.
Swales earlier admitted three counts of rape, five of sexual assault, one charge of assault by penetration, 17 counts of taking indecent photos of children and one of possessing indecent images.
Even after admitting the offences, Swales claimed he did not have any sexual interest in children.
But the judge said: “That sort of distorted and dysfunctional thinking indicates to me just how dangerous a paedophile you are.”
Swales had a total of 9,767 indecent images on various computer hard drives and memory cards including photos of his victims and pictures of their faces stuck onto adult porn pictures.
He was arrested after three of the girls told their parents of the abuse.
Sentencing, Judge Peter Armstrong said: “The offences for which I have to sentence you today are some of the worst that I have ever had the misfortune to have to listen to in this court in the past several decades.
“One of the worst features of the offending was the taking of video films and photographs of the children you were abusing.”
Judge Armstrong said if Swales had been given a fixed jail sentence of 14 years he would have been released on licence after serving half.
He said: “From what I’ve read about you I don’t think that’s appropriate.
“That will be a matter for the authorities to decide when if ever you are released.”
Paul Cleasby, mitigating, said Swales never used or threatened violence to the victims and the images were not distributed.
He added that by pleading guilty, he had prevented the victims and their families from having to go through the ordeal of a trial.