A PERVERT who watched and distributed extreme pornography on the internet has today (Friday, February 21) been spared jail because of his age and background.

Police were tipped off by US authorities after Nicholas Gilliam, 22, of Thorney, Langport, downloaded hundreds of indecent photos of children and several videos on his laptop.

Gilliam, who had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a total of 15 charges of making and possessing indecent images, also chatted on-line with “like-minded individuals”, Taunton Crown Court heard.

Harry Ahuja, prosecuting, said after Gilliam’s computer was seized by police, a further 41 images and five movies involving “extreme sexual activity with animals and females” were discovered.

Virginia Cornwall, defending, said Gilliam, who is bisexual, had received glowing references from members of his community and is hard-working.

She added: “He’s deeply ashamed, remorseful and humiliated by what he’s done.”

Judge Graham Hume Jones handed Gilliam a two year prison sentence suspended for two years, with a supervision order, including attending a sex offenders’ programme.

He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for ten years and given a ten-year sexual offences provision order barring him from working with children.

Gilliam, who had no previous convictions, must also do 200 hours unpaid work in the community and pay a £100 victim surcharge and £300 costs.

The judge said a prison term “would be ruining your future” and allowed Gilliam to walk free from court due to his age and respectable background and education.

The judge added: “The people who make these films and take these pictures are involved in very serious abuse of children.

“I have read the description of the category five movie – children were being abused in the most disgusting and painful way.

“By signing up to acquire these images, you are adding to the market in which these people who abuse children make their money and that encourages them in their abuse of children.”