A PERVERT described as “sheltered and immature” was caught with more than 1,000 child abuse images – but walked free from court after the judge heard he “plays a strong role in his community and church”.

Oscar Holley searched for abusive images of children aged between 0 and 5 years old for three years – including entering horrific search terms such as “toddlers tortured”.

He used a TOR browser to access the dark web and a history eraser and eight VPN applications on his Samsung mobile phone, Swindon Crown Court heard on Wednesday morning.

At least 1,100 indecent images of children were found, including multiple victims under the age of two years old – but the actual number was likely to be much higher as police stopped counting once they reached that threshold.

Judge Jason Taylor QC said his “strong” mitigation outweighed the fact that “appropriate punishment can only be met by immediate custody”.

He warned him: “You need to understand that if you commit any further offences you stand liable to come back to court and the presumption is you’ll go to prison. I’m placing trust in you and you need to stay in close contact with your family and open up to your family.”

Earlier, he had highlighted the seriousness of indecent images charges, saying: “I’m sure this has dawned on you by now, you were a cog in this whole industry, because if people like you didn’t access them, they wouldn’t be produced.

“The children you witnessed were real and they will have real consequences for the rest of their lives and that is why the court takes them so seriously.”

The court had been told that Wiltshire Police’s child internet exploitation team had been tipped off that an IP address in the Chippenham area had accessed child abuse material.

They attend Holley’s address, Wisteria House in Dauntsey, and spoke to his mother, prosecutor Christopher Pix said. The next day, his father called the officer and said that his son had confessed to him.

Of the images on his phone, 196 were found to be of Category A, the most serious. There were also 528 Category B and 550 Category C.

Mitigating, Benjamin Newton said that his client had the “most significant cumulation of mitigating features”, pointing to his previous good character, age and immaturity at the time of the offending.

He said the now 23-year-old has “led quite a sheltered life” and “doesn’t have the typical sexual maturity of a typical 18, 19-year-old at the time of that offending behaviour”.

He likened it to falling down a “rabbit hole” in the “privacy” of his bedroom.

“We have evidence of a young man that is family-orientated, hard-working, conscientious, someone who plays a strong role in his community and church,” Mr Newton continued, adding that he would clear footpath and byways in his community and help the elderly in his parish.

Judge Taylor gave Holley a two-year jail term, suspended for two years, during which he must take part in 20 rehabilitation activity days and 175 hours of unpaid work.

He will also be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for ten years, which will restrict his contact with young people and his use of the internet.