Kettering paedophile avoids prison after being caught with thousands of sick pictures
A judge told him he had effectively encouraged the abuse of real children
A paedophile from Kettering who downloaded almost 25,000 vile images of young boys and girls has been spared from prison.
Gavin Lawson, 32, was caught with pictures of children including 'very young infants' being sexually abused, with some files showing sadistic acts.
He faced up to three years in prison after admitting his depraved actions, which took place in 2017 and 2018.
But after hearing about the steps Lawson had taken to address his sickening behaviour Recorder William Harbage QC ruled he could suspend the custodial sentence he imposed.
He told the paedophile: "If I sent you to prison today that would end the progress that you have made."
On Thursday (April 15) Northampton Crown Court heard police visited Lawson's home in Highfield Crescent with a warrant and seized his devices.
Prosecutor Dawn Pritchard said they also found a small cannabis grow, which Lawson was given a caution for.
Forensic investigators analysed his laptop and found a total of 24,718 vile pictures of child abuse.
In total 112 of these were in category A (the most depraved) with 32 in category B and 24,574 in category C. A total of 30 of the files were videos.
Lawson later admitted three charges of making indecent images of children when he appeared before magistrates.
Mitigating, Aqsa Hussain argued the case for a suspended sentence and said Lawson had taken steps to rehabilitate himself including getting help from the STOP sexual offending service. Lawson also penned a letter in which he said he was doing "all he can" to address his behaviour.
The court heard in mitigation that Lawson had mental health issues.
But Recorder Harbage QC said: "Psychosis does not make people view indecent images."
Ms Hussain added that Lawson had been attacked, threatened on Facebook and had people kicking at his door since his conviction was made public earlier this year.
Sentencing, Recorder Harbage QC told the paedophile that the images he had downloaded were "deeply offensive".
He said: "What you have to understand, and I suspect that you do understand now, is that real children are abused in order to make these images and these images are then sent out to be watched by people like you.
"By viewing them you are effectively encouraging the abuse of real children."
Lawson was handed eight months in prison, suspended for two years.
He must take part in rehabilitation activities and was given a sexual harm prevention order for five years, restricting his use of the internet and devices.