He also sent and then reposted a disgusting Category A movie showing a young girl being sexually abused for fellow paedophiles in the group to view.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told his life is now in ruins as he has now split from his wife, his adult children are refusing to speak to him and he has been sacked from his job.
Harding was a caught out when police officers raided his former home and seized computer equipment in March last year.
He was not at home but was later traced to his employment at an Edinburgh builder’s merchants and arrested.
Harding admitted possessing and sharing the indecent images of children at a court hearing last month and he returned to the dock for sentencing yesterday. (THURS)
Sheriff John Mundy acknowledged there was “a low number of images” involved and placed Harding on a supervision requirement for two years. He has been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for the same length of time.
Defence lawyer Leslie Cunningham said her client had moved into homeless accommodation due to “a significant deterioration” in the relationship with his wife.
Ms Cunningham said: “There has been a significant backlash in the local community in East Lothian.
“Mr Harding and his wife have been receiving death threats and unfortunately Mr Harding had to vacate his property. Police are aware of the threats he has been receiving.
“In addition Mr Harding has lost his employment as a result of a [press] article that was published and his marriage his now broken down and his adult children have reduced contact with him.”
Ms Cunningham added Harding admitted to becoming addicted to online porn while his wife had been unwell.
Previously the court heard detectives received intelligence child abuse images had been downloaded at Harding’s address in February last year.
Procurator Fiscal depute Jade Doig said Harding admitted during a police interview that he “was a member of a couple of What’s App groups” and had been sent images he had “deleted straight away due to their content”.
The fiscal said Harding had been sent four category C images showing girls aged eight to 11-years-old posing in an erotic manner.
He was also sent two videos from another member of the online group showing children being sexually abused which were subsequently found on his mobile phone.
Harding, a first offender, then reposted one of the disgusting movies for other perverts to view within the online What’s App group.
He admitted f possessing and making indecent photographs or videos of children at his home address between October 28, 2018 and March 26 last year.
Harding also pleaded guilty to distributing indecent photographs or videos of children on February 23 last year.
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