Pensioner found with more than 15,000 indecent images of young children aged between five and seven
A pervert pensioner who was found to have more than 15,000 indecent images of young children on multiple devices has avoided prison.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Norman Thrush, 71, had never viewed pornography prior to retiring and then downloaded thousands of Category C images and two Category B images over period of six years.
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said that acting on information from the National Crime Agency, police cautioned and arrested Thrush on November 23 last year on suspicion of making indecent images of a child.
After a search of the premises, police seized multiple hard drives and a USB stick from Thrush's property in Washington which were found to contain over 15,000 category C images and two category B images.
Mr Pallister said: "The age of the children involved were estimated to be between five and seven."
He said that the images were found to have been made between 2012 and 2018.
Thrush was interviewed on two occasions, first in November 2018 and again in August this year and Mr Pallister said he "initially made no comment in interview on both occasions."
He added: "He is of previous good character with no previous convictions."
Mr Pallister said the search terms found to have been used were common in this type of case and that they were "deliberate searches" of images of young children.
Alec Burns, defending said that his wife was supportive of him and present in court and had written a letter to the judge.
Mr Burns said: "He had never looked at pornography until he retired."
He pointed out that one of the hard drives was a duplicate because Thrush had had difficulties with a computer and therefore, some of the photographs were copies.
Mr Burns said: "He is prepared to help the police to trace the origins of these photographs in anyway he can.
"He is a family man.
"He has been with his wife 24-hours a day since they were married.
"She is nine years older than him. He is her carer. She suffers from arthritis and has a balance problem.
"He does everything in their household save for the cooking.
"If he goes to prison today, there is no-one to look after her."
Mr Burns said Thrush is a hard working man and has shown remorse for his actions.
Thrush, of Athelhampton, Washington, pleaded guilty to two counts of making indecent images of children at an earlier hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
Judge Penny Moreland first made Thrush the subject of a seven year Sexual Harm Prevention order, limiting his contact with children and the use of the internet.
Judge Moreland said: "Every one of these 15,000 images that you downloaded involved a real child, somewhere in the world, being sexually exploited for people like you to view for their own sexual gratification."
The judge sentenced Thrush to six months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months and said she was doing this for one reason only - his wife.
She said: "It is not her fault that you were accessing child pornography for the last six years."