Great-grandad spared prison over child porn

Liverpool Crown Court
Liverpool Crown Court

A 73-year-old Wigan great-grandfather, who had secretly downloaded vile sexual images of children, has avoided jail.

Joseph Eckersley had vehemently disputed the allegations, claiming that his computer and Paypal account had been hacked and he had been due to face trial next month.

But eventually he changed his pleas to guilty and appeared for sentence at Liverpool Crown Court.

The court heard that police had raided his home in Martland Avenue, Lowton, on May 14 2014 and seized his computer equipment.

Analysis revealed he had indecent images of children aged from about four to 14 including videos in all three categories of seriousness.

He had made folders to keep some of the images in, had software to remove his internet history and had “erotic stories involving children”, said Henry Riding, prosecuting.

Paul Becker, defending, said that the defendant was an electrical engineer until his retirement aged 70 and his hobbies included electronics.

He is not in good health and had had to pay his own defence costs. “He is throughly ashamed of himself,” added Mr Becker.

Judge Alan Conrad said that his guilty pleas had saved him from going to prison.

He pointed out that the images “involved children somewhere in the world being exploited and are real victims”.

But he said that he accepted that Eckersley had now acknowledged the gravity of what he had done.

He sentenced him to nine months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and placed him under supervision for two years. He also ordered him to pay £600 towards the prosecution costs, ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and made an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.