Church helper viewed vile child images

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A church helper had more than 3,000 vile images of children being sexually abused on computers at his Sandal home, a court heard.

The discovery was made after computer equipment was seized from Nigel Holleran’s home on Walton Lane, Sandal, in May last year.

Leeds Crown Court was told Holleran contacted police officers and told them he “wanted to get things off his chest”.

He then admitted that he had been viewing abusive images of children for around five years.

Holleran, 57, later told a probation officer that he believed the children in the images, some as young as nine, had consented to the abuse they were being subjected to and had been paid for appearing in the images.

A judge said his attitude towards his offending was of “great concern.”

Simon Clegg, prosecuting, said some of the images featured children as young as nine being raped. He had also used file sharing platforms, enabling other people to access the illegal material he had downloaded.

Holleran pleaded guilty to six offences of possession of indecent images of children.

The prosecutor said: “He said that he initially began looking at the images and movies out of curiosity to see what bad there was in the world.

“He said he grew complacent and did not realise how serious it was until it was too late.”

Christopher Moran, mitigating, said Holleran had assisted the church for many years and was supported in court by his friends from the church.

He added his client also had the support of his wife of 30 years.

The court was also handed a character reference from the parish priest who described Holleran as a “quiet personality and a gentle spirit”.

Mr Moran said Holleran was prepared to undergo treatment to prevent him offending in the future.

Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, made him the subject of a three-year community order, during which he must take part in a sex offender treatment programme.