A sick Metropolitan Police officer has been spared jail after he paid for videos of babies being sexually abused. 

PC Darren Hourigan, 51, claimed he “may have been hacked” after he was caught accessing a portal which included 3,490 videos and 295 still images of children. 

The portal included videos of babies as young as one being sexually abused. 

PC Hourigan, of Coteford Street in Tooting, was a serving officer in the South Area Command Unit, which covers Bromley, Croydon and Sutton, when he was caught with the images.   

In March 2020 the Met’s Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse team found that two email addresses attributed to PC Hourigan had accessed the portal. 

When he was arrested at his home in March 2020 he told colleagues he had no idea about the images. 

The portal included four folders with child abuse images, including one titled ‘baby’ and another titled ‘1 to 5’. 

In a second interview, PC Hourigan said he had used the file sharing platform to view cycling and athletics videos. 

He continued to deny ever viewing indecent images of children but said “I may have been hacked”. 

PC Hourigan eventually admitted his offending on April 26 when he pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent images of children. 

On Friday (July 7) he appeared at Kingston upon Thames Crown Court where Judge Barklem gave him a 10 month prison sentence suspended for one year. 

This means he will not see a prison cell unless he offends again during that period. 

He was suspended from duties before he was charged on September 21 last year. He later resigned from the police force. 

Chief Superintendent Andy Brittain, in charge of policing in South Area, said: “We have made it clear that the Met will take action against any of its staff who are not fit to remain within the organisation, and we will now prepare for a misconduct hearing.  

“We are committed to providing Londoners with a Met that they deserve; one that upholds the law on the streets of the capital and amongst its own ranks.  

“The vast majority of the thousands of police officers and staff are striving to take this forward – those who won’t are not worthy to remain.”