Pervert spared jail for possessing almost 1,400 indecent images of children for his own 'deviant sexual interest'
A “deviant” who had a sickening online catalogue of almost 1,400 images of children being abused has walked free from court.
Stephen Gibson's shocking collection was "catalogued and filed into folders" and featured victims as young as five years old.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the married 56-year-old's home was raided in 2018 after detectives received information that he sent images of a child to someone with "similar deviant interests".
Police seized his computer equipment and found 1,387 indecent images, both pictures and movies, including 194 of the most serious category, which included some "sadistic" activity.
Gibson, of Thornton Court, Washington, also had six prohibited images, which were in cartoon form.
He pleaded guilty to three offences of making indecent images of children and one of possessing prohibited images.
Judge Tim Gittins said Gibson's collection was "well organised" and added: "It was catalogued and filed into folders so they could be viewed for your own deviant sexual interest".
The judge added: "It would seem this was an interest, an abhorrent interest, which you developed over time, needing increasingly depraved images to satisfy your sexual deviancy."
Judge Gittins said each viewing of such images is a "fresh abuse of the child contained in them" and said the victims can be effected for life.
He added: "Just because you did not take the image doesn't mean you are not responsible for that. They are someone's son or daughter, someone's grandson or granddaughter in those images.
"Some are frightened, degraded and abused in the course of the creation of those images."
Gibson was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with intensive rehabilitation requirements.He must sign the sex offenders register and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.
The judge said probation officials have encouraged intervention in Gibson's case and added: "The best way of protecting any children from you and reducing the risk of you being engaged in this sort of thing ever again is to suspend the sentence while you do an extremely intensive course."
Paul Coss, defending, said Gibson admitted he had some attraction to post pubescent children but had never sought to meet any and is willing to rehabilitate.
Mr Cross added: "He is able to understand the harm this causes to children. At the time it didn't really register with him but he appreciates it now.
"People simply think they are looking at harmless pictures, without thinking they are generating a market for these pictures."
Mr Cross said Gibson has been assessed as posing a low risk of re-offending, has a good work record and has never been in trouble before.