A pensioner was caught with more than 600 child abuse images on his computer after it broke down and he took it in to be repaired.
David Levick, aged 74, was spared and immediate jail term because he is the full time carer for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis.
Some of the images were found on data disks because Levick did not want to leave them on his computer because it was used by his grand daughter and he was worried she may stumble on them.
The images were described by a judge as disturbing and included photos showing very young children being abused. Four were at the most serious level which shows sadism or bestiality.
Levick, of Coral Avenue, Westward Ho!, admitted ten counts of making or possessing indecent images of children and was jailed for six months, suspended for a years and ordered to receive supervision by Recorder Mr Philip Mott, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.
He was also banned from using the internet to access similar images and from having contact with children under 16 unless he tells their parents of his conviction.
The Recorder told him: “The images found on your computer came into all five categories of seriousness and others were saved by you onto a disk, presumably to avoid the risk of your grand daughter stumbling on them when she used the computer.
“I take into account there were limited amounts of images in the live files and that you were comparatively naïve in computer terms and did not know it was saving them automatically when you looked at them on your screen.
“But that is not the point. These files, even deleted, show the extent of your interest in children and the length of time you had been interested in what are quite clearly disturbing images in some cases of very young children.
“The pre sentence report shows you now appreciate that the use of indecent images of very young children encourages others to produce this material. That is the abuse to which you and others who view these images contribute, whether they are made in this country or elsewhere, in places such as the Far East.
“I take into account you have pleaded guilty straight away, your lack of previous convictions and your age and good character, which stands you in good stead. Because of your good character and the personal circumstances of your wife being ill and you being her sole carer I believe it is proper to suspend this sentence.”
Mr Alex Allsop, prosecuting, said Levick was arrested last year after he took his computer to a local IT expert in Bideford for repair.
The engineer found disturbing child pornography and contacted police who seized it and raided Levick’s home where they found the images stored on disks.
Mr Allsop said there were 455 images at the lowest level one, 25 at two, 80 at three, 136 at four and four at the highest level five.
Mr Terry Holder, defending, said his client’s hopes for a happy retirement after a lifetime of hard work had been wrecked by the illness to his wife, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.
He said Levick is the only person able to care for his wife full time and needed to retain his liberty so he could continue to help her.