Barry Gray, 66, had a ‘very high volume of images’ including many that were not criminal.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard police attended his home on September 15 in Gosport and seized devices. Among the thousands of images they found there were 8,841 that were categorised as criminal abuse pictures.
Around 441 were category A - the worst. Most - 8,221 - were category C.
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Prosecutor Cerys Sayer said some images included girls aged 10-11 being raped, some clothed and unclothed ‘posing inappropriately’ and being forced to abuse each other.
Police were alerted to Gray’s home after suspicious use of the internet was flagged.
Sentencing, Recorder Nicholas Haggan QC said: ‘You haven’t been able to explain why you were doing what you did.
‘There’s a suggestion in the reporter that perhaps you were collecting these images in an obsessive way.
‘You told the author of the report that you had no sexual interest in children and indeed that you had no libido, so no inclination to have a sexual interest in children or to act upon it.’
Gray, of Selborne Gardens, Gosport, paid a ‘heavy price’ after his crimes came to light, his solicitor Simon Moger said.
His wife left him, ending his long-standing marriage.
Gray vowed never to offend again and told his solicitor: ‘I will never be in this situation again,’ Mr Moger said.
The judge said Gray had ‘hitherto led an unblemished life’.
Gray, who has leukaemia, vascular dementia, a depressive disorder and cognitive impairment, admitted three charges of making indecent images of children.
They span August 3 and September 15 in 2019.
He was handed a six-month jail term suspended for two years, with 30 days’ rehabilitation activities.
Gray must sign the sex offenders’ register and comply with the sexual harm prevention order for seven years.