March 2011

Child sex offender changes name to Michelle

A child sex offender has changed his name to Michelle as he fights a Court of Appeal battle.

Shaun Pudwell, of Napier Road, Gillingham, was jailed indefinitely three-and-a-half years ago after being convicted of attempting to groom three schoolgirls on the internet.

But the 43-year-old, who now goes by the name of Michelle Saunders and is pictured left, claims he was the victim of a stitch-up.

He has launched an application to appeal his convictions for inciting a child to be involved in pornography, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, causing a child to watch a sexual act and making indecent images of children.

Pudwell also wants to appeal against his sentence of indefinite imprisonment for public protection, which could see him locked up for the rest of his life.

The prosecution case was based on material found on computer equipment attributed to Pudwell.

He claimed all along he was framed by someone who had gained access to his computer equipment.

At the trial, Pudwell named a prosecution witness as a suspect and claims he has since discovered the witness had a previous conviction that had not been disclosed.

The alleged conviction was relevant to his defence case, because it involved handling 158 stolen computer hard disk drives, he told the court in a letter.

Mr Justice Maddison, sitting with Lord Justice Moses and Mrs Justice Nicola Davies at the Court of Appeal, said no such conviction had appeared on police computers, but adjourned the application so that the witness can make a statement.

“We would feel uncomfortable about dealing with his case without knowing the outcome of the inquiry to be made,” the judge said. “This is not intended in any way to give an indication of the outcome of the applications concerned.”

No date was set for Pudwell’s application to return to court.

He was convicted at Leicester Crown Court in October 2007.

The offences came to light when a 13-year-old girl from Leicestershire told police Pudwell emailed her photographs of himself naked.

At the same time, two 12-year-old girls from Northumbria were also receiving inappropriate messages from Pudwell with content of an explicitly sexual nature.