A PAEDOPHILE caught with more than 700 pictures and videos of young girls as young as three months old has been spared jail.

The images were traced back to Ian Thompson, 48, through his IP address to his Billericay home in 2021 and he was spotted trying to flee as police visited his home.

Police found him trying to dispose of a phone by throwing it out of the window, but it was later recovered by police.

The phone contained 491 category A videos and 269 category A images, both deemed the most serious type of indecent images.

Thompson pleaded guilty and was sentenced at Southend Crown Court yesterday.

Matthew Ness, prosecuting, said: “The device was shown to Mr Thompson and he was asked to provide his pin to officers.

“He gave access to the phone but provided two false pins to the secure folder containing images, telling officers words to the effect of ‘you’re smart, you’ll figure it out.’ “The device as eventually unlocked uncovering 760 items depicting females between the ages of three months old to 13 years old.”

Thompson was charged on five counts, including three counts of possessing indecent images of children, one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving animals Mr Ness added Thompson accepted he had the indecent images and expressed ‘shame’ and ‘regret’.

Roger Sahota, mitigating for Thompson, said: “I would like to emphasise Mr Thompson has seen voluntary services for 27 appointments. Probation workers note he has made huge strides in his progress and has progressed in addressing the unhappiness in his life and hopes to turn things around.”

Judge Samantha Leigh sentenced Thompson, now of Angels Courtyard, High Street, Colchester was handed a 12-month sentence suspended for 24 months, placed on the iHorizon service, given a 60-day rehabilitation activity requirement, 100 hours unpaid work and handed a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.