A man who had approaching 3,000 pictures of children stored on discs and hard drives was unmasked after he broke up with his wife and left the marital home.
Anthony Mark Oates had moved in with his mother, leaving behind computer equipment, which was later seized by police following a tip-off.
The 56-year-old admitted 10 offences of possessing obscene pictures of children, totalling 2,912.
The court heard 51 of the images were of a serious nature, while the vast majority was at the less serious end of the scale.
Oates, of Santon, admitted downloading the pictures but told police he had done it 10 to 15 years ago out of curiosity.
Defending him before he was sentenced in the Court of General Gaol Delivery, his advocate, Roger Kane, said Oates was thoroughly ashamed of himself.
He said that though the custody threshold was passed simply by virtue of the volume of pictures, a suspended sentence supervision order would be most appropriate.
Not only had he co-operated with police, Mr Kane said, but he had been actively helpful, handing in additional devices with pictures stored and supplying passwords.
’He knew it would result in further arrest and detention,’ he said.
’But he took a more than pragmatic approach and has been more than open with the authorities.’
Mr Kane drew the court’s attention to Oates’ previous good character, his early admissions and the positive pre-sentence report produced on him by the probation service.
Passing sentence, Deemster Alastair Montgomerie said he had viewed a sample of each of the levels of image, which dated from between 2004 and 2017.
’The damage done to children who are coerced and exploited to produce images is immeasurable and each time an image is viewed, kept or distributed, over which the child has no control, that child is victimised again,’ he said.
’It is impossible to quantify the harm suffered by victims of such offending.’
He said the offence was aggravated by the sheer number of pictures but the likelihood of Oates reoffending was low.
Deemster Montgomerie rejected pleas to suspend the sentence, instead sentencing him to six months’ immediate custody. A forfeiture and destruction order was made for all hard drives and compact discs on which pictures were stored.
He will be subject to an extended release licence period of two years when he leaves prison and must undertake a sexual offenders’ treatment programme. He will be on the Sexual Offences Register for five years and subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, also for five years.