A man who downloaded and viewed illicit images of children has been spared jail.
Michael Godfrey, 33, from Brompton-on-Swale, was finally caught out in December 2018 after police swooped on his home and seized ten electronic devices, York Crown Court heard.
He was hauled in for questioning but remained silent and refused to give police the passwords and PIN numbers for his computer equipment, said prosecutor Brooke Morrison.
Forensic officers found dozens of indecent images of children on three of the 10 devices, including 21 category A photos and videos of children – the worst kind of such material.
Some of the children featured in the images were as young as five, said the prosecutor.
Police also found 700 prohibited or cartoon images of children and 207 extreme-pornography photos or videos which included bestiality scenes.
Ms Morrison said that Godfrey, who had lost his job since the offences came to light, had used “peer-to-peer” software or apps to access indecent material and incest videos between April 2008 and his arrest in December 2018.
Police also found text documents which contained “erotic fiction involving incest and children”.
Some of the images showed children as young as five being “bound by their feet and hands”.
Godfrey, of Brompton Court, ultimately admitted three counts of making indecent images, one count of possessing extreme pornographic material and possessing prohibited images of minors.
He appeared for sentence today (Wednesday, October 5).
Erin Kitson Parker, for Godfrey, said her client had already completed a rehabilitative course under his own steam to try to change his behaviour and had never been in trouble before, nor since the devices were found four years ago.
Judge Simon Hickey said that Godfrey had “targeted (images of) these…vulnerable children out on the internet and, worse, (using search terms) such as ‘incest’”.
He said the delay in the case reaching court was mostly down to Godfrey refusing to co-operate with the authorities by not handing over the PIN numbers for his devices.
However, he said that Godfrey, who lived alone, was one of those “rare” online-sex offenders who recognised “your perversions” and had paid to go on a rehabilitative course before he was charged.
He said that because of this, and Godfrey’s lack of previous convictions, he could suspend the inevitable jail sentence.
Godfrey was given a 16-month suspended prison sentence and placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years.
He was also made subject to a 10-year sexual-harm prevention order to curb his online activities and placed on disbarring lists preventing him working with children or vulnerable adults.
Godfrey was ordered to pay £425 prosecution costs and a statutory surcharge.