Shamed Christopher Potter was spared jail at Portsmouth Crown Court after a judge heard there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. He started using the dark web to buy steroids.
The 36-year-old, of Puffin Walk, Waterlooville, admitted distributing a small number of the images after using software that uploaded images while he was downloading other pictures.
Prosecutor Timothy Moores revealed crane supervisor Potter had 391 category A images – the worst – along with 220 category B, and 7,667 at C. He also had 116 images of bestiality.
Mr Moores said: ‘(Potter said he was) using the dark web to purchase steroids then started downloading adult pornography in large file downloads using uTorrent, then when he opened it up he had discovered indecent images of children.
‘A significant number of images had been deleted, a large number remain on his computer.
But he added: ‘It’s clear from some of the filenames the nature of the material that was being downloaded.
‘It does appear that there are a number of sites visited more than once and had been bookmarked automatically by the system.’
The court heard dad-of-two Potter had 8,278 images, split on two laptops including on a Novatech laptop.
A third laptop was never examined by police as Potter ‘couldn’t provide a password,’ Mr Moores said.
Judge Timothy Mousley QC ordered the forfeiture of all three devices found in a police raid at Potter’s home on June 26, 2018.
Sentencing Potter, judge Mousley imposed a 19-month jail term suspended for 18 months.
Judge Mousley said: ‘There are significant mitigating features in your case. You have no relevant convictions, you have expressed significant and genuine remorse.
‘You’re a man with a family, a good degree of stability.’
He must complete 175 hours’ unpaid work and a sex offenders’ treatment programme.
Potter must complete up to 10 days of rehabilitation activities.
He must sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and a sexual harm prevention order restricts his internet use for the same period.
Potter admitted three charges of making indecent images, relating to those found after deletion, one charge of possession and two of distributing indecent images – relating to seven files.
James Caldwell, for Potter, said probation found him a low risk of general harm, and a medium risk of serious harm to children.’