A pedophile loner amassed a collection of over 50,000 sickening child abuse images over a 15-year period.
James Bentley claimed not to have a sexual interest in children, despite downloading thousands of images on the dark web.
The 49-year-old was caught by police on October 31, last year when officers raided his flat on Laburnum Road, Redcar.
After his devices were examined, a total of 904 category A images were found, along with over 23,000 category B and almost 30,000 category C images.
Bentley appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Monday to be sentenced for three charges of possessing indecent images.
Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said Bentley was interviewed by police on the same day they searched his home.
“He admitted he had been accessing images for 15 years but [said he] had no sexual interest in children”, Ms Lamballe said.
Bentley told officers he downloaded the images out of “curiosity” but would perform a sex act after viewing them.
Ms Lamballe added that the “majority of offending” took place on the dark web, using the Tor browser.
She said Bentley also admitted to officers he used “various message boards to upload images for others” to use.
She added that despite his admissions of uploading images, his devices that were seized found “no evidence of distribution”.
The court heard that some of the material that was downloaded depicted children as young as four-years-old and included a “great deal” of moving images.
Shaun Dryden, defending Bentley, said he had no previous convictions but “became addicted to these images”.
“He lives a fairly solitary lifestyle and has no close contacts”, he said.
“He doesn’t work and lives alone.”
Mr Dryden added that there was “some genuine acceptance that what he was doing is wrong on many levels and that the children in these images are being abused”.
He said that Bentley was “pleased” on “some level” that he had been arrested so that he can address his issues.
Judge Howard Crowson handed Bentley a 16 months prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He must also undertake a sex offender programme as well as 25 rehabilitation activity days.
He was also made subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.