A man from Bromley who was caught with thousands of images of child sexual abuse including videos of babies insisted he looked at them out of “curiosity”. 

Shaun Taylor-Thompson, 32, of Beckenham Grove in Shortlands, was arrested after a home raid in January 2022. 

His phone, hard drive and cloud storage account were searched and contained over 19,000 indecent images and videos of children. 

Prosecutor Lily Roberts-Phelps said: “They contained images of very young children being penetrated, some of the children were as young as 18-months-old.” 

Taylor-Thompson pleaded guilty to a five charge indictment including making indecent photos, possessing extreme pornographic images of animals and possessing a prohibited image of a child. 

At his sentencing hearing on Wednesday (February 21), Judge Rosina Cottage KC said that despite his pleas he didn’t seem to be taking responsibility for his actions. 

Henry Dickson, representing Taylor-Thompson, said his client claims that the images were already on a device he had been given by another man. 

But Taylor-Thompson does admit that he viewed some of the images. 

Mr Dickson explained that his client had been in a “risk-taking” period of his life where he had been open to having weird conversations and curiosities. 

“He says it was out of curiosity that he viewed the images,” Mr Dickson said. 

But Judge Cottage said: “You don’t download images involving the penetration of babies unless you are excited by them.” 

Mr Dickson continued: “He knows just how awful these pictures are and how critical it is that he deals with this sexual interest. 

“I’m not going to pretend he is a changed man and sees the errors of his way, but what I’m going to say is that he needs the Horizon Programma so he can be helped to get there.” 

Sentencing the defendant, Judge Cottage said: “When I read the papers in this case, I wanted to send you to prison to punish you, and you would deserve that punishment. 

“But I’m not sure it would achieve the aim of preventing you from looking at pictures of babies.” 

The judge therefore decided to give him a 20-month suspended prison sentence instead. 

She ordered him to complete 80 hours of unpaid work and an iHorizon programme, designed to tackle online sex offending. 

Judge Cottage warned him: “I am going to give you an opportunity, one which I don’t think you deserve. I am going to reserve any breach of this programme to me and if you do breach it you will go to prison.”