AN 80-YEAR-OLD man jailed for child sex offences and possessing extreme pornography has died in custody just four months into his prison sentence.

Peter David John Bennett, of Edward Road, Somerford, Christchurch died on March 15.

He was an inmate at Winchester Prison and died in the Royal Hampshire County Hospital on March 15.

An inquest has been opened into his death and a post-mortem report to the coroner said the cause of death was sepsis, right leg and left leg flank cellulitis and prostate carcinoma with multiple metastases.

The inquest was adjourned to August 3.

Bennett was jailed for five years and 10 months in November last year at Bournemouth Crown Court by Judge Alastair Malcolm, who described him an “adept groomer”.

The court heard the pensioner, who had a history of sex offences against children going back more than 50 years, encouraged what he thought was a 12-year-old girl to have sex with her pet dog and a horse.

The person he thought was the 12-year-old girl was actually a woman from paedophile hunter group STOP.

Over a two-month period he had a series of conversations with the "girl", giving her his address and encouraging sexualised behaviour.

The Stop group passed information to another paedophile hunter group, which confronted him on his doorstep in March last year.

The encounter was live-streamed on Facebook and gained more than 100,000 views.

When he appeared in court in November, Bennett pleaded guilty to attempting to incite or cause a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexualised activity, attempting to communicate with a child in sexualised terms, and possessing extreme pornography.

The court was told his first offence was in 1963 when he was jailed for indecent assault on a girl under 14.

Eight years later he assaulted a girl under 16, then in 1972 he grabbed an 18-year-old girl, drove her to a secluded spot and forced her to perform sexual acts.

Bennett also had convictions for indecent exposure in 1969 and in the 1980s. In 2006 he appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court after he was found to have made and distributed more than 340 indecent images of children – 68 of which were at the most serious level.

Speaking after his death, Dean Rowland of STOP told the Daily Echo: "Peter Bennett contacted one of the decoys who was an adult posing as a 12-year-old girl.

"Within the first three messages the person said she was 12 but he began to speak in a sexual nature. He wanted a dog to perform sex acts with a 12-year-old."