Shamed Thanet youth sports worker Phil Pittock spared jail over hundreds of child abuse images
Phil Pittock, 50, admitted downloading hundreds of indecent images of children
A shamed youth sports worker has escaped an immediate jail sentence for possessing more than 1,200 indecent images of children.
But in sentencing former Thanet School Games organiser Phil Pittock, Judge James O'Mahony told him: "This sickening trade is only made possible by people like you.
"You must have realised that a great number of these images do not appear by magic. They are real children, some as young as nine, and in some cases, a few, of extreme sexual imagery."
Pittock - who admitted five charges of possessing indecent images of children and one charge of making them - was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.
Crispian Cartwright, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown Court: "This is a sad but familiar story."
He said Pittock's home, in Brandon Road, Birchington, had come to the attention of police and on January 15 they arrived at his home with a search warrant.
Pittock told police he had been very silly, Mr Cartwright said. His laptop, two memory sticks and an iPhone were examined and found to contain a large number of indecent images of children - most at the least serious level - although some were at the serious end of the scale.
Mr Cartwright said Pittock had been candid with police and said he was a poor sleeper and looked at the images late at night. He said he had stumbled across the websites and it grew from there.
Phil Pittock admitted having hundreds of child abuse images
"Pittock said he found the girls attractive, but wanted to stop and on the day he was arrested he had been looking at how he could cancel the account," Mr Cartwright said.
"There were three particular sites he used to visit and he says he looked at images of girls as young as nine but not lower than that."
Mr Cartwright said 50-year-old Pittock, was a man of "excellent character".
"He feels devastated by what has happened and wishes he had never started," Mr Cartwright said.
"He has found adjustment incredibly difficult and a week after his arrest he attempted suicide..." - Nicholas Jones
Pittock took on his Thanet School Games organiser role in September 2011, based at the Ursuline College, in Westgate.
In October 2012, Pittock had been presented with a gold medal for bringing together Inspire PRIDE Awards in Thanet and the summer 2012 schools engagement programme.
His role involved arranging inter-school competitions in different sports, many as local qualifiers for the bi-annual Kent School Games.
Nicholas Jones, defending, said Pittock had spent most of his adult life in athletics and promoting sport in schools.
"That life is now over," Mr Jones said. "He has found adjustment incredibly difficult and a week after his arrest he attempted suicide. With the support of his friends and family he has managed to turn his life around.
"He made a full and frank confession to the police and has sought help to tackle what he sees as a problem."
Judge O'Mahony also ruled that Pittock would be subject to a sex offences prevention order for seven years.
He told Pittock: "You are a highly intelligent, well qualified and resourceful man. Your conduct since has been as constructive as it could be in the circumstances."
But Judge O'Mahony said the images represented a serious sexual abuse of children and he added: "You have suffered, as you deserve to suffer, significant punishment."
Judge O'Mahony also ordered that Pittock should pay £1,200 costs.
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