Several weeks ago, a judge at Caernarfon Crown Court sentenced a “persistent sex offender” to 12 months in prison for possessing and sharing child abuse images. After the man, Nicholas Charles Walker turned himself into the police, he named Richard James Eckl as the supplier of the images found on the USB drives at his house. In turn, police in Manchester searched Eckl’s house and computer for evidence that Walker had been telling them the truth.
During those searches, they found that evidence. And at Caernarfon Crown Court, Judge Timothy Petts sentenced the 70-year-old to 28 months in prison. According to information revealed in the courtroom, the images found on Eckl’s computer warranted immediate detention based on the severity and extremity of the content. The judge called the images the “vilest” images he’d ever seen.
“These are images of child abuse. Boys aged 5-12 years being abused in some of the vilest ways possible,” the judge declared in his ruling.
Eckl, a former member of the Royal Air Force, had stored 553 illegal images on his computer, Prosecutor Ryan Rothwell told the court. Almost 100 of those images were in the worst category of child abuse material possible. Investigators suspected Eckl may have downloaded more photos that he had deleted prior to his arrest; they found software on his computer that existed only to delete data in an unrecoverable fashion. They also found software used to access the darknet.
When Walker (the “persistent sex offender”) was arrested, the police found USB drives filled with child abuse pictures on them. Walker told investigators that Eckl regularly supplied him with child abuse content on the drives. As a convicted sex offender on supervision for sex crimes, Walker may have had trouble downloading or accessing “child pornography” through the internet. So he introduced Eckl to the darknet and convinced Eckl to provide him with the illegal pictures.
Eckl admitted that Walker had introduced him to the darknet. He admitted, also, that he had been downloading illegal content himself for Walker. At his last hearing, Eckl pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of distribution of child pornography.
Eckl’s attorney asked the judge to consider several points before sentencing Eckl. She told the judge that, even though the crimes spanned several years, they were completely contradictory to her client’s character. “He is a hard worker, serving in the Royal Air Force for 22 years and then working in the security business.” She also pointed out that Eckl worked with the police and complied fully during the investigation.
Judge Petts considered these things, sentenced Eckl to 28 months in prison, and ordered the destruction of any electronic devices owned by Eckl.