A married grandad caught with indecent images of children as young as one claimed the sickening stash had “popped up” while he was downloading an Avengers movie.
John Sharp was found to have more than 2,000 child abuse images on ten devices seized from his home.
The maintenance worker had got them through peer to peer software and had encrypted some files in which they were stored.
The 62-year-old, described as having limited understanding of the impact of such offending, insists he only looked at them out of curiosity.
A judge said he has a long way to go to get to the point where he acknowledges he has a sexual interest in looking at children being abused.
Recorder Jo Kidd, at Newcastle Crown Court, told him: “Your interest in viewing sexual assaults on children covered a significant period of time.
“There were key word searches on your devices and it’s also clear you had sufficient technical wherewithal to encrypt files which contained indecent images.
“You were asked during your probation interview to talk about the circumstances in which you came to have those images and you are described in that report as being blase as to the consequences and you have a limited understanding of the impact on the victims that this sort of offending causes.
“It’s clear you have a long way to go to get to the point where you acknowledge you have a sexual interest and are sexually gratified by looking at children being sexually assaulted.”
It was in September last year that police executed a search warrant at Sharp’s home.
A total of 15 devices were seized, ten of which were examined and found to have indecent images on them.
There was a total of 2,344 images – 60 in the most serious category A, 39 category B and 1,897 category C, including five movies.
The age range of the girls featured in the material was one to 16 years.
Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said: “The defendant, having been arrested, denied responsibility for making them. He was interviewed on a number of occasions and repeated his denials.
“He said he had bought computer equipment from car boot sales and had no idea how the material was present on the devices.”
Sharp, of Aycliffe Crescent, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children.
He was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years with 200 hours of unpaid work.
He must sign the sex offenders register for seven years and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.
Annalisa Moscardini, defending, said Sharp has been married for 44 years, works hard, cares for his poorly wife and has never been in trouble before.
She added: “He was downloading an Avengers movie and something popped up and he was curious.
“He accepts he should not have opened it but he did and things downloaded on his machine.
“He would look at what had downloaded to see what was there out of curiosity.
“He asks me to relay he will never be in court again.”
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