The mother of a man who was caught with child abuse images spoke out to defend him as he left court.
Damien Renshaw, walked free from court with a 'smirk' on his face despite admitting to downloading a number of vile videos of babies and children being sexually abused, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The dad-of-one from Heswall, Merseyside, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court, where he was supported by his parents and sister, to be sentenced for three counts of downloading hundreds of child abuse images.
He had pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing.
The court heard that some of the images showed children as young as three months old.
Speaking on behalf of the defendant, legal representatives said the breakdown of his marriage, which resulted in him having to move into a flat on his own, as well as an addiction to alcohol led Renshaw to 'seek solace in the Internet'.
Renshaw, who worked in IT for the NHS, was found to have a total of 235 images and 12 videos - of these 62 of the images, including two videos, were found to be category A, the most serious, almost 100 were found to be category B and 76 were category C.
Defending, Paul Blasbery told the court: "He had split up with his wife and moved out of the family home.
"It [drinking] worsened when he moved into a flat on his own. Sometimes he needed a lunchtime drink just to get him through the day.
"He was lonely and would turn to the internet. He began to use chat rooms and was, in his own words 'stumbling' into images of children."
Credit: Liverpool Echo
He also handed the judge a written character reference from Renshaw's mum Kate.
When approached by a reporter from the Liverpool Echo outside court his mum Kate refused to repeat her character reference statement, but told the reporter: "He won't be the first and he won't be the last."
Judge Flewitt QC told the court: "The striking part of this case is the extremely young age of many of the children. Some of them are so young their ages are counted in months - not even years.
"As you recognise, these are real children. They are not make believe images.
"Each of those children is a real child somewhere in the world that has been sexually abused so that people like you can get whatever gratification you get from those images."
Renshaw was not given a custodial sentence, but was made subject to a three-year community order.
Credit: Liverpool Echo
He was ordered to attend a rehabilitation activity for 30 days, take part in a sex-offender treatment programme and to carry out 120 hours of community service.
He will be under a sexual harm prevention order for the next five years.
Source: Liverpool Echo
Featured Image Credit: Liverpool Echo