A holidaymaker caught with more than 52,000 pictures of child abuse – including one involving a four-year-old child – has walked free from court.
Sean Jamieson was on a solo trip around New Zealand when he left a hard drive in a hire car in October 2013.
Police were informed and investigators found 52,750 indecent photographs and films when they examined the device, reports the Gazette.
But the 47-year-old was given a community order allowing him to continue getting help for his “problem” over the next three years
Tens of thousands of images involved children aged between eight and 12, but in one case depicted a child about four years old, Teesside Crown Court heard.
The films were mostly a few minutes long but some lasted half an hour or more than an hour, said prosecutor Sue Jacobs.
The vast majority of the images were in the least serious category in law.
Police also found three illegal movies of “extreme pornography”, each more than an hour long.
Jamieson was back in the UK by the time his catalogue of images was found overseas. He was arrested at a former home in Thornaby.
He said he could not have viewed all of the images as he had downloaded so many from the internet.
He told officers he derived some sexual gratification from them but looked at a large amount of the pictures out of “fascination and interest”.
Jamieson, of Middlesbrough Road, South Bank , admitted one count of making indecent photographs of children and three of possessing extreme pornographic images.
Robert Mochrie, defending, said Jamieson was of previous good character, made full and frank admissions and pleaded guilty before any evidence was served.
He said: “This is a man who fully recognises that he has a problem and he has expressed a willingness to engage with those who are in a position to help him.”
He said Jamieson wanted to take part in a sex offender treatment programme and was undergoing counselling.
Judge Tony Briggs told Jamieson: “It’s sad to see a person of 47 of previous good character before the courts, particularly for offences of this nature.
“It’s sad to say that one frequently encounters images of even greater depravity than the ones that we are concerned with today.
“However in your case there’s been a significant quantity of material.”
He said Jamieson pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, was truthful and “remarkably frank” to police and probation officers, and his time remanded in custody was likely to keep him out of trouble.
He added: “You recognise your difficulty and you are taking steps to make sure that you don’t commit offences of this nature again.
“In those circumstances it seems to me just possible to avoid custody.”
He gave Jamieson a community order with three years’ supervision, a sex offender treatment programme and a residence requirement.
Jamieson was given a sexual offences prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register for five years.