A PERVERTED father-of- two who had a stash of child and extreme porn downloaded from the internet, has been spared an immediate jail term.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Robert McGregor, 47, had never been in trouble before and was in all other areas of life a respectable man.

But behind closed doors the ‘happily married’ defendant was said to have had a darker side, uncovered when police raided his Bacup home in November 2011.

The hearing was told officers seized computer equipment and found nine indecent images of children at level five, the most serious level, 58 at level four, 26 at level three, 18 at level two, 221 at level one and 39 extreme pornographic images. Most were pictures, but the ‘very distressing’ collection included two video clips and some of the photos showed children under five.

McGregor, most recently living at Bankside Lane, Bacup, admitted 10 counts of making an indecent photo of a child and two allegations of possessing extreme pornographic images. He was given six months in prison, suspended for two years, with supervision and the internet sex offenders’ programme. He was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and was given a five-year sexual offences prevention order. Under the order, McGregor was banned from using any device capable of accessing the internet, unless it can retain and display the history and he gives it to the police, on request, for inspection. He is banned from possessing any device for storing digital images unless he makes it available to the police on request. He must pay £450 costs.

David Macro, prosecuting, said police, who had intelligence about a website, went to the defendant’s home in Co-operation Street. He was interviewed and told police they would find indecent images. McGregor attended the police station again in August and admitted he had downloaded the images from the internet. He had no previous convictions.

For McGregor, Robert Elias said he didn’t swap or trade images. The defendant had a long and happy marriage and his wife was standing by him.

He said McGregor had been actively seeking help.

The barrister conceded that any right thinking person would find these images abhorrent.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “This is not a victimless crime, because those who have been photographed have suffered the most serious form of abuse.”