A man downloaded more than 130,000 indecent images of children after turning to online porn because he had no friends.
Kieran Harvey was constantly bullied at school and sought an escape online, Inverness Sheriff Court heard today.
The 25-year-old was described as “socially isolated and immature” by his solicitor, who said his collection – which also included 803 videos – had become an “obsession”.
However defence agent Neil Wilson urged Sheriff Sara Matheson not to send Harvey to jail because he had sought help for his addiction as soon as he was charged.
Sheriff Matheson acknowledged Harvey’s actions and noted he had managed to hold down a job and attain a degree despite his isolation, but jailed him for 400 days.
She said: “There is no alternative to a custodial sentence due to the number of images, involving children as young as five years old and the length of time involved.
“People like you who indulge in extreme pornography perpetuate a market for the on-going abuse of children.”
First-offender Harvey, of Broadstone Park, Inverness, admitted downloading and possessing the illegal material from December 2016 to September 2019.
Fiscal depute Robert Weir told the court that 132,448 still images and 805 videos were recovered from Harvey’s computer equipment. The vast majority were classified at the lowest end of the scale of obscenity, although some were at the most extreme level.
Mr Wilson said that over 40,000 had been copied from one piece of hardware to another, so the number of unique images and videos was around 80,000 although conceded it was still a high number.
He said: “He needs ongoing support and counselling and this is a case that there is an alternative to custody.”
Harvey broke down in tears as he was led from the dock to begin his sentence.