A Chester man who obtained over 28,000 indecent images of children over 20 years has been handed a suspended sentence.

Robert Gilogly, 64, of Henry Place, previously pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to downloading indecent images of children aged as young as seven, including those found to be in the most serious category.

He was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Chester Crown Court (sitting at Chester Magistrates Court) on Friday, March 15.

Prosecuting, Peter Hussey said police arrived at Gilogly's home address in early 2023, looking for material connected with indecent images. The defendant alerted officers to a mobile phone and a laptop and they were seized as part of 13 devices, plus 38 USB sticks and five floppy disks.

Although the mobile phone was not able to be analysed, police were able to find a large number of indecent images and videos on the other devices.

They included 234 images and 39 videos assessed as the most serious category, category A, plus 573 images and six videos assessed as category B, and over 27,500 indecent images and 130 videos assessed as category C. In addition, there were 119 prohibited (cartoon-style) images of children found.

The court heard the material involved sex acts taking place with girls aged as young as seven.

Defending, Sean Smith said the defendant was fully aware the offences carried a custodial penalty, but there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, with Gilogly already seeking support through the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

Judge Patrick Thompson, sentencing, said: "This is someone who has been accessing images for 20 years – that is a hard habit to break. That gives me concern about him. What I have to think about is protection of children. This is going on to the dark web and searching for this horrendous material."

He added that instead of a short custodial term, Gilogly should be put on a specific programme to change his "sick and unhealthy interest in children", and that would be the Maps for Change programme.

Sentencing, he said Gilogly had held a "dark secret" for 20 years, and that he "should feel a great deal of shame" for what he had been doing.

Gilogly was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, and must complete up to 35 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement plus 200 hours unpaid work.

He was handed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order limiting his computer use, and must sign the sex offenders register for 10 years. He was to be deprived of the seized devices.