A MAN who downloaded 372 indecent images of children told police he had made a “stupid mistake”.
Charles Heaton, 39, downloaded pictures of children aged from two to 15, Leeds Crown Court heard.
The images were found on a computer during a police raid on Heaton’s home in January last year.
Heaton, of Hollingthorpe Road, Hall Green, Wakefield, admitted 11 charges of making indecent photographs of a child.
Most of the photos were graded level one - the least serious - with 12 at level two, 11 level three and 22 at level four.
Prosecutor, Catherine Moxon said Heaton told police during interview that he acted “out of curiosity and ease of access”.
Mrs Moxon added: “It spiralled out of control. He said he had started out on adult sites. He said it had been a stupid mistake.”
The court heard Heaton has lost his job and has lost contact with his young son.
Ian Cook, mitigating, said: “The punishment started long before he reached this court and he is thoroughly ashamed of himself.”
Judge Christopher Batty sentenced Heaton to a three-year community order with supervision and said it is envisaged he wil be required to take part in an internet sex offender treatment programme. Heaton’s name will be on the sex offender register for five years.
Judge Batty told him: “Those children whose images you were looking at, they were someone’s daughter.
“Could you ever begin to imagine your son being in that position? It is because of people like you who watch and download those that these children are abused. If there was no market for it they wouldn’t do it.
“It is impossible to comprehend what these children have gone through.”