AN OMAGH man who hacked the social media accounts of women located across the UK to access sexual photos has been jailed.
Ryan Eastwood, of Coolnagard View in Omagh, was sentenced at Dungannon Crown Court yesterday for offences including harassment, sexual offences and computer misuse which took place between October 2019 and June 2022.
The 30-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to 49 offences relating to 34 victims who were located in England, Scotland and Wales as well as in Northern Ireland.
The court heard that Eastwood – who was previously convicted of voyeurism at Antrim Crown Court in 2019 – hacked the personal social media accounts of his victims in order to get to their photos.
He also posed as their friends to gain access to their personal information and on some occasions pretended to be a representative of the Ann Summers lingerie brand and asked women to send sexual pictures of themselves.
The offences were in direct breach of a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order which was imposed on Eastwood alongside his 12-month prison sentence for voyeurism.
Eastwood was handed a three-year concurrent sentence this week, which includes three years for attempted intimidation, three years for attempted blackmail, one year for disclosing private sexual photographs with intent to cause distress, and two and a half years for attempting to cause a person to engage in sexual activity.
Speaking after the sentencing, the PSNI’s Detective Chief Inspector Paul Woods said: “Eastwood used a variety of techniques, including social engineering, to obtain personal pictures of victims.
“On some occasions he used compromised social media accounts, often posing as friends, to gain access to victims’ accounts.
“He managed to access personal information in private areas of accounts. And, in some instances, he posed as a representative for lingerie companies in an attempt to obtain images.
“Whatever the deceptive means, the end result was the same: a violation of privacy and trust, resulting in understandable distress.”
He added: “The victims in this case were targeted through cybercrime, despite the defendant being previously banned from using the internet as part of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
“Today’s sentence should send a clear message to anyone involved in this type of cybercrime that they cannot act with impunity and that they are not anonymous.
“Offenders will be identified, vigorously pursued, and brought before the courts to face the consequences of such activity.”
Det Chf Insp Woods went on to commend Eastwood’s victims for their bravery in coming forward.
“The Police Service is grateful to each and every individual who found the courage to speak up,” he said.
“Your support in this complex investigation has been invaluable in helping us to piece together an intricate pattern of offending.”
He added: “I am keen to take the opportunity to encourage anyone who may be the victim of such offences to come forward. You will be treated with the utmost sensitivity.
“And please be assured that if you are, or have been, a victim then you’re certainly not alone.”
Eastwood will now be placed on the Sex Offenders Register and will also be subjected to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 10 years.