Published Friday, 09 November 2012
Strain was given a three year probation order. (© UTV)
James Strain, 61, was ordered to complete a new internet sex offender's treatment programme at Belfast Crown Court on Friday.
Judge Corinne Philpott QC told Strain his "entrenched and distorted attitudes" would be addressed.
"The natural concern the court has in this type of offending is that the child victims are not seen as victims, that just because they have not been touched or interfered with by this defendant doesn't mean that they have not suffered," said the judge.
She told Strain, whom she ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for the next five years, that at his age he "should have known better" and warned him that any breach of the probation order would result in him going to jail for 18 months.
Earlier she heard that when officers seized a computer and external hard drive from Strain's home at Parklands in east Belfast, they uncovered 1,156 indecent images of children being abused and of bestiality.
Prosecuting lawyer Philip Henry told the court that although most were in the least offensive categories of one to three, there were "a number" of images in categories four and five.
The police investigation also revealed however that Strain had set up eight online identities which he used in various chatrooms on the internet, using all but one to pose as a teenage girl.
It was through these identities and online chats that Strain admitted to swapping some images and obtaining others.
In total Strain pleaded guilty to 15 charges relating to indecent images of children, three counts of distributing images of children and a further three of possessing extreme pornography on various dates between 31 January 2009 and June 14 last year.
Defence QC John McCrudden said that Strain, who uses a wheeled zimmer frame to get around due to arthritis, began looking at adult pornography online but "like soft drugs it was the gateway to this sort of filth".
In handing down the probation order, Judge Philpott said it was difficult for members of the public "to get over the repulsion that these types of offences causes" but that in Strain's case, he had pleaded guilty, had shown remorse and was not assessed as posing a risk to the public.
© UTV News