A PERVERT caught with thousands of images depicting the abuse of children, some as young as one, has been spared jail.

After police raided Luke Gardiner's home a haul of indecent images was uncovered - totalling more than 4,500 banned images of young children.

The 38-year-old of Kennet Close, Bicester went on to admit three counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme pornographic images.

He appeared at Oxford Crown Court for sentencing today.

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Outlining the case prosecutor Robert Lindsey said Gardiner was caught after police received intelligence that indecent images of children had been downloaded.

Officers went to his home on September 11 2017 where they seized a number of electronic devices.

Gardiner denied being aware of any illicit material and said he had downloaded pornography but there may have been 'some dubious downloads.'

He said those would have been downloaded 'without his knowledge' or when he 'fell asleep.'

On further investigation of the machines it was revealed that there were thousands of indecent images of children.

In total he had 109 in the most severe category - A, 63 in category B and 4,530 in category C.

He also had a further six extreme pornographic images depicting bestiality.

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The total haul of banned images was 4,708 images.

Prosecutors said that the images were a mixture of still images and videos and dated from 2009 to 2014.

The child images were primarily of female girls aged between one and 15.

There was also evidence found of 'anti-forensic' software to delete web history and use of peer-to-peer sharing used to access and download images.

The court went on to hear that Gardiner has no other previous convictions recorded against him.

In mitigation Lucy Ffrench, defending, said that her client had suffered 'enormous disruption and stress to the family' when arrested some three years ago.

She said that Gardiner described the delay since the initial arrest as 'torture' and that he was living in a 'state of fear.'

It was also said that Gardiner had been drinking alcohol.

Mrs Ffrench said: "In his mind there is some connection with the offences with the use of alcohol and his abuse of the net."

Sentencing, Judge Nigel Daly said that the period of offending was 'an aberration' and that Gardiner had otherwise 'led a perfectly good and proper life and contributed to the community.'

Gardiner was jailed for eight months, suspended for 18 months.

He must also carry out 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days and pay £425 court costs and a victim surcharge.

He will also sign the sex offenders register and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for a total of 10 years.