Church warden and award-winning nudist caught with almost 1,500 sick child images
A church warden and organist caught with almost 1,500 sick pictures of children being raped and abused has avoided going straight to jail.
Twisted Peter Thurley, who is an award-winning nudist, also took part in vile sex chats with other paedophiles
The 74-year-old grandfather from Ivybridge has now been banned from naturist events where children are present. Plymouth Crown Court heard that the youngest child in any of the images was thought to be just one year old.
Judge William Mousley told Thurley: “Each and every one of these 1,469 images of children represents a single act of abuse against a child and possession and distribution of this material for personal pleasure can never be taken lightly.”
He added that the offences were made worse by the high number of images and the young age of the children. Judge Mousley said that he had given “anxious consideration” to sending Thurley to prison, but had decided to suspend his sentence.
He added that the defendant had a good chance of mending his ways and had already undergone counselling to tackle his problem. Judge Mousley said: “You have demonstrated evidence of good character for many years.”
Thurley, of Cameron Drive, Ivybridge, admitted six offences of possession of indecent images of children in all three brackets.
About a third of the pictures were in the most severe class, Category A, showing youngsters being sexually abused by adults.
He also admitted distributing two images in Category C, where he sent pictures back to a fellow pervert.
Nick Lewin, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police acting on intelligence about child images being shared online raided Thurley’s home on March 2 last year.
He added they seized three devices where the images were later found. Mr Lewin said Thurley’s search history showed he had been looking for indecent images. His WhatsApp chat history also showed he had talked to a fellow paedophile about sharing images.
The barrister said: “A lot of the images were connected to the naturism that Mr Thurley claimed to have a longstanding interest in.” Mr Lewin added that Thurley said he was at the time a warden and organist at a church in Ermington near Ivybridge.
Judge Mousley handed Thurley a 42-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 100 hours unpaid work.
He must also do 35 days of probation’s Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and pay prosecution costs of £240.
The defendant was given a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will allow police to monitor his internet use, but which also bans him from attending naturist events when children were present.
Thurley must also sign the Sex Offender Register for a decade.
In 2013, during a newspaper interview Thurley from British Naturism said: “Naturism is a healthy lifestyle and anyone whose behaviour drags it into disrepute doesn’t get any support from us.”, whilst himself at the time was masterbating over images of kids