A man from Market Overton who downloaded hundreds of pornographic images of children has escaped jail.
Thomas Todkill, 68, was arrested after police raided his home on October 2, 2015, and found the images on his computer, Leicester Crown Court heard at his sentencing on Tuesday.
Todkill’s stash consisted of nine images and one video at Category A, the worst kind, 11 images and one video at category B and 280 images at category C.
Prosecutor Hal Ewing told the court that police raided Todkill’s home after receiving a tip-off.
Mr Ewing explained that prior to the raid police had also connected the IP address of Todkill’s computer to the download of an indecent image of a child.
The court heard that Todkill, of Main Street, was the only user of the computer and that the images and videos were found in its recycle bin.
Police found no evidence that Todkill was sharing the downloads to other internet users.
When interviewed by police, Todkill denied making the downloads but later admitted the offences before the case went to trial.
Defending, Helen Dawson, said that Todkill served for 30 years in the Royal Navy and then worked on oil rigs.
She explained there was a culture in those professions of having a “stiff upper lip” .
“In the guilty plea, he is breaking that habit,” Mrs Dawson said.
Judge Nicholas Dean QC responded to Mrs Dawson’s remarks by telling her that Todkill had reversed his plea out of shame rather than because he had a stiff upper lip.
He said: “The denial arises from shame, rather than what you described as a stiff upper lip.”
Judge Dean remarked that the case was unusual as the number of Category A downloads in cases of this type was often “hundreds if not thousands”.
Todkill was given an eight month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years, and told to complete a 15-day rehabilitation activity.
He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order, enabling the authorities to monitor his future computer use for 10 years.
His computer has also been forfeited to police.
Judge Dean said as he sentenced Todkill: “I am confident that you will not breach the suspended sentence order or the rehabilitation activity.”
No mention was made of costs during the sentencing.