A man with an "entrenched sexual interest" in children who sexually assaulted a schoolboy and downloaded more than 20,000 indecent images and videos of children has been jailed.

Sentencing 51-year-old Michael Sweeney, who was jailed two decades ago for downloading 37,000 indecent images of children, Judge David Wilson said he posed a significant risk to children by committing further serious offences in the future.

Sweeney, of Stowmarket Road, Great Blakenham, admitted three offences of making indecent images and movies of children, sexually assaulting a boy under 13 and taking indecent pictures of a child.

In addition to being jailed for five years and four months, he was given an extended licence period of four years, a sexual harm prevention order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

Ipswich Star: Sweeney was sentenced at Ipswich Crown CourtSweeney was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court (Image: Suffolk police)

Police went to Sweeney’s home in 2022 after his employers were informed by an IT company that he had accessed material relating to indecent images of children.

Edward Renvoize, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday, said that when electrical devices seized from Sweeney’s home were examined they were found to contain 800 indecent images of children and 922 movies in the most serious level A category, 946 images and 944 movies in category B and 17,999 images and 322 movies in the least serious level C category.

The court heard that in 2004 Sweeney was jailed for 21 months for 16 offences of making indecent images of children.

Mr Renvoize said that during the police investigation still images and videos of a boy being sexually abused by Sweeney were discovered by officers. 

Sweeney was identified by experts who compared his hands and fingers with the hands and fingerprints of the person in the images and videos.

Philip Farr, for Sweeney, accepted his client had an "entrenched sexual interest in children".