An unemployed computer programmer who downloaded indecent movies and stills of children was saved from jail because he had pleaded guilty.
Rod Marsh, 52, from Watford was told by Judge Caroline Wigin on July 1 that he would have gone straight to prison had he not admitted looking at the abuse images.
Prosecutor Paul Douglass said police received information that a computer at Marsh’s home was being used to access indecent images via file sharing software.
When the officers raided his home early on September 2019, 2017, they asked if there was anything he wanted to say. Marsh pointed to a computer tower.
When the tower and a hard drive were analysed, the police found seven photos and three movies at Category A – the most serious level.
In addition, there were 18 stills and two movies at Category B and 628 stills and 18 movies at Category C, the least serious level.
When questioned by the police, Marsh said he had viewed the images for four to five months.
Defending, Angela Kerner said Marsh was now looking for work.
Judge Caroline Wigin told Marsh: “To get to your age with no convictions and come to court is something you must be regretting very much indeed.
“You did not stop looking at the images and went on to deliberately access them over five months.
“The Category A movies involved real children aged six to 11 being subjected to most appalling acts.
“You need to understand these acts cause real pain to the children involved.”
She sentenced him to eight months in prison suspended for 18 months with 40 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement. He must carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay £200 costs. In addition, Marsh must abide by the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.