A NEWPORT asperger’s syndrome sufferer escaped prison after admitting possessing more than 1,200 indecent images of children downloaded from the internet.
Malcolm Velahos , 40, of York Place, who also pleaded guilty 24 counts of making indecent images of children, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.
He admitted committing the offences over a six-year period between 2000 and March 2006.
Newport Crown Court heard that the 1,234 indecent pictures were of both boys and girls, some of whom were aged under five.
They ranged from level 1, at the lowest level, to the worst kind of category, level 5, which can depict bestiality and sadism.
Laurence Jones, prosecuting, said Velahos was snared after the Royal Mail intercepted a letter heading for Czech Republic.
“This defendant was the author of the letter,” he said. “It was an order for indecent images of children and a note saying he was satisfied with the material he received.”
The court heard that computer equipment was seized and analysed. Images were found on the hard drive and on CDs and officers also found printed copies of photos at his address.
“During interview he admitted downloading photographs,” said Mr Jones. “He said he believed them to be artistic, produced through special affects.
“He went on to amit he used them for sexual gratification.”
Leighton Hughes, defending, said Velahos was of previous good character and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
“He co-operated with police from the start,” he said. “Because he suffers from asperger’s (a form of autism) he does not show normal social behaviour or interaction.”
Sentencing Judge William Gaskell said he would not send Velahos to prison because his condition made him “vulnerable”.
“You are unable to respond appropriately to other people’s emotions,” he said. “You would be very vulnerable to the responses of other prisoners- they are likely to beat you up. I have to take this into account.”
Velahos was also given a two-year supervision order, will have to register as a sex offender for ten years and was banned from accessing the internet in private for ten years.