August 2021

Pervert fears he ‘may die behind bars’ as sick images found on his computer

A pervert who downloaded hundreds of sick images of children and animals fears he may die behind bars after a judge jailed him for 29 months.

Serial sex offender Michael Eastwood, 65, tried to claim his computer had been hacked when the images were found – along with file cleaning software.

Preston Crown Court heard Eastwood, of Wasdale Road, Blackpool, was previously convicted of a string of indecent and extreme images offences and was sentenced to 28 months behind bars in 2014.

Following his release he was subject to strict supervision requirements under a 20-year-order to prevent him from causing sexual harm.

Officers visit him regularly at home and under the terms of the order, Eastwood must make any computer equipment available for examination.

He is banned from using or installing any software which could hide his browsing history.

On August 1 2018, officers visited him and found he had security software installed which could also wipe files.

He was advised to remove the software as it would put him in breach of his order.

In December 2018, officers were unable to inspect his computer as there was a message on the screen saying the equipment needed to be rebooted.

Eastwood said the device had been like that for ‘a few days’ but he did not want to reboot it before he had shown it to his offender manager.

When his smartphone was examined, “worrying” search terms relating to children were discovered and Eastwood’s equipment was seized.

Officers discovered he had been in email contact with a person called ‘Val’ who had sent indecent and extreme images to Eastwood.

40 images were the highest level category A, 40 were at category B, 20 were at category C and there were 226 extreme images and four prohibited images.

Some of the images depicted sexual acts with animals and some with children as young as one.

Eastwood maintained his denials until February 2021 when he pleaded guilty to breach of a sexual harm prevention order, and indecent and extreme images offences.

The court heard Eastwood, who uses a wheelchair, has a number of physical and mental health problems, including degenerative disk disease and a heart condition, which he is awaiting surgery for.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham, said: “He has fears if he goes into prison he may never come out but these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence is justified.

“Making indecent images of children, particularly those at category A, is regarded rightly by the court to be a really serious matter.

“It is an offence which has real victims who are sexually abused in order to produce these images, which would not be made if there were not people like the defendant creating a demand for it.

“Of course the defendant has not abused any child in this case but he has encouraged the abuse of these children and that can not be overlooked.

Judge Altham jailed Eastwood for 12 months for the indecent and extreme images offences with a further 17 months to run consecutively for breaching his sexual harm prevention order (SHPO).