A student was found to have downloaded more than 40,000 indecent images and videos of children being sexually abused when police seized computers from his home in Leeds.
Leeds Crown Court heard officers executed a search warrant at Michael Crawford’s family home in Meanwood on April 27 last year after receiving information that illegal material was being accessed from the property.
Crawford was not at home at the time. He was eventually interviewed and admitted that he had accessed the images as he had been in a “dark place”.
He said he had become reclusive and depressed while studying at university.
Kathryn Stuckey, prosecuting, said officers discovered more than 42,000 illegal images and 5,000 movies but not all were categorised. In total, 233 movies and 52 images that were graded at Category A – the most serious level of offending.
Crawford, 29, of Towers Way, Meanwood, pleaded guilty to making indecent images of a child.
Marlon Grossman, mitigating, said Crawford had already referred himself to a programme helping people addicted to looking at illegal indecent images online. He said Crawford had been reduced to tears when he was made fully of aware of the impact his offending had on the victims who appeared in the images. He was made the subject of a three-year community order, during which he must attend a sex offenders treatment programme.
Recorder Anton Lodge QC said: “These are serious offences because of the encouragement it gives to the people who make those images.”