Geoffrey Lowe, 67, also said that his colleagues had been furloughed and he was under ‘extreme pressure’ at work.
Police caught the Marcham man after a tip-off about a Twitter account linked to Lowe sharing an indecent image of a child to the social media site in October 2021.
A ‘direct message’ sent from the account said the user was ‘into boys of between 10 and 15 and possibly younger’.
Lowe’s home was searched in March 2022 and his devices were seized. In total, he was found to have 58 images in the worst category, A, 29 in category B and 26 in category C.
The analysis of the digital devices showed he had also exchanged lewd messages and child sex abuse material with a fellow pervert on the heavily-encrypted Telegram app.
His paedophile pen-pal was named in court as ‘Ryan Davy’, who it was suspected was based in the States. Their conversation, which began on Telegram, had moved onto WhatsApp.
Arrested by the police, he denied having a sexual interest in children despite having received two cautions in the past for possession of indecent images of under-18s.
He said he had ‘not seen anyone’ during lockdown. A number of his work colleagues had been furloughed and, as a result, he was under ‘extreme pressure and had been very low’.
Judge Ian Pringle KC asked the defence: “when did he get his Damascus moment?” It was ‘obvious’ the people in the images were children being told what to do at an age when they were not old enough to know the significance of what they were doing, the judge added.
Sentencing, Judge Pringle said he had come to the conclusion ‘after much consideration’ that he could suspend the two year prison sentence for two years.
“I think there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in your case because way before these matters came to light you had ceased the contact you had with the [individual in the] United States to whom the distribution was solely made. In other words, this is not mass distribution,” he said.
“Secondly, you had already engaged a psychologist and have tried to get to the bottom of why you offend in this way and you recognise now the harm that you do to children by providing a market for these sort of images.”
Lowe, of Parkside, Marcham, who pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to possession and distribution of indecent images of children and possession of extreme bestiality pornography, must complete probation programmes and a mental health treatment requirement.
He will be on the sex offender register for a decade and must abide by a 10 year sexual harm prevention order.