A former school teacher from the Black Country, who stored thousands of indecent images of children on his home computer has been spared jail.
James Kennedy trained for the priesthood before deciding to start a family and was also a registered FA football coach, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
The 48-year-old is now unemployed but had worked as a supply teacher and tutor for disruptive pupils excluded from secondary schools. Police found more than 4,000 images of children on a computer and memory stick during a raid on the house in Wakes Close, Willenhall, where Kennedy lived.
More than 300 of these were from the two worst categories, revealed prosecutor David Lees at the hearing on Wednesday. Kennedy, who has since moved to Meadow Way, Stafford, had been exchanging some of the images online with up to six people, continued Mr Lees.
The defendant, who claimed to be suffering from depression, later told police he had “no sexual interest” in children but Judge Robin Onions said: “I find that impossible to accept.”
Lewis Perry, defending, said Kennedy was a “good man of exemplary character within the community” who had been driven to commit the crime through loneliness following the break-up of his relationship. Kennedy pleaded guilty to five offences involving the possession of more than 4,500 indecent images of children, two of possessing indecent moving images and two of distributing indecent images of children.
He was given a three-year community order on condition that he completes an intensive sex offender group work programme, and ordered to pay £340 costs. He was also banned from working with children for life.