A NAVAL officer who downloaded images and videos of extreme child pornography told police that he was "relieved" when they tracked him down.

James Smith, a father of two from Perranwell Station, was detected after Devon & Cornwall Police were alerted by police Western Australia, as part of an international investigation.

Appearing at Truro Crown Court on Friday, the smartly dressed 35 year-old, a meteorologist at RNAS Yeovilton, was given a suspended prison sentence by Judge Simon Carr.

Prosecuting, Sally Daulton said police visited Smith's home address on July 17, 2018 after he had been detected engaging on a web channel hosted by two individuals, who were later arrested for child sex offences.

Smith operated under the online moniker "Little Kiddy Slut" and when police arrived at his house, he said: "I know what you're here for and I'm quite relieved actually."

After police seized his mobile phone he alerted them to a laptop. 

A total of 36 category A images and four category A videos were found. Category A images include penetrative sexual activity with children as young as two years old.

There were also 48 category B images and 3,125 category C images.

Many of the category A and B images were in "unallocated disk space" on his laptop, while 1,896 category C images were still "live" and therefore more easily accessible.

There were also cache files which had been downloaded so the user was not deemed to be in possession of them. 

Doubt surrounded when the images were first accessed, but it was estimated to be as far back as 2008 and as recently as 2018. 

Ms Daulton added that the images, text chat and web searches were "indicative of someone with a sexual interest in children".

She added that Smith has had regular therapy sessions since being arrested.

Defending, Nicholas Wragg said Smith had been "candid" from the beginning. 

He said that Smith had collected predominantly category C images over a signifcant period of time.

Mr Wragg said Smith was "definitely not" interested in physical sexual abuse and had always deleted such content, but Judge Carr interrupted Mr Wragg's submission to dismiss it as an "absurd proposition". 

Smith was described as a "high performer" in his career and an "extremely diligent and capable" lieutenant.

Mr Wragg said his wife has supported him following the revelations and he has had 51 one-to-one therapy sessions to deal with his risk in the future. 

He added: "He has an incredibly supportive family and is an honourable and disciplined man. There is no doubt he would abide by any order. It was clear that it was overtaking his life," said Mr Wragg.

Summing up, Judge Carr said: "It is quite irrelevant that the category A images were deleted. You have been targeting these sites for a very long time. 

"You have an entrenched sexual interest in children and I doubt that will disppear at any stage of your life. 

"I accept you have sought treatment and showed remorse but you need to be under no illusions that as we sit here, thousands of children are being raped for the entertainment of people like you.

"Children as young as two are being raped and will probably be raped throughout their childhood. Without people like you this would simply not happen. You have created that monster."

Smith, who had pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children at an earlier hearing in Bodmin Magistrates' Court, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years.

He was given a two-year community order to include 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement. He was ordered to pay costs of £500 and Judge Carr imposed a sexual harm prevention order for five years.