Beware! How a man hacked social media accounts to obtain sexual images

A Tyrone man who hacked women's social media accounts to obtain sexual images has been jailed for three years.

Ryan Eastwood, 30, from Coolnagard View, Omagh, targeted 34 victims over a 14-month period.

He has served a prison sentence and was given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for similar offending.

The judge said Eastwood showed a "callous disregard" for the victims' privacy, on one occasion posing as an Ann Summers employee to obtain images.

He told Dungannon Crown Court Eastwood had intruded into the lives of young women "using an awareness of IT to hack and then abuse the information, either provided under threat, given under false pretence or harvested from the accounts of the various victims".

'Nasty offences'

"It is clear that he got sexual pleasure from this behaviour. These are nasty offences which have had a significant impact upon the victims," the judge added.

The court heard police searched Eastwood's home in December 2021 and seized a phone which revealed he was in breach of a 10-year SOPO imposed at Antrim Crown Court in 2019 alongside a 12-month prison sentence for voyeurism.

A pre-sentence report revealed he obtained the knowledge used to commit the latest offences while he was serving that prison sentence.

He hacked the social media accounts of large number of people and contacted their friends, on some occasions asking for sexual images or pictures of lingerie.

Some of the accounts contained intimate photographs that he was able to access and view.

He contacted one woman claiming to be the digital marketing executive of Ann Summers telling them the company was looking for brand ambassadors and requesting photos and videos.

While some victims did not comply with his request to send him material the judge said "unfortunately others did".

Given the nature, duration and seriousness of the offending the judge said the custody threshold had been "well and truly passed".

Eastwood pleaded guilty to a total of 49 charges.

These included attempted intimidation and blackmail to send or access intimate photographs for which he was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

He was sentenced to two years in custody for 30 counts of unauthorised access to computer material.

For attempting to cause a person to engage in a sexual act, disclosing private sexual photographs, voyeurism, fraud by false representation and breaching a sexual offences prevention order, he was handed prison sentences ranging from 12 months and two and a half years.

The total sentence he will serve is three years in prison.

Eastwood will remain on the Sex Offenders' Register and was given a further SOPO for 10 years.