A PAEDOPHILE who tried to hide thousands of child sex abuse images using specialist software will receive treatment.

Martin Pascoe thought the covert spy software would cover his tracks and make it impossible to trace the sick images he was looking at.

He was wrong.

Police raided his then home in Benfleet and seized his computer and the software with 5,880 images on.

Among then were 598 images classified in category A – the most vile and reprehensible images imaginable – involving girls and boys as young as eight.

There was a further 1,175 images of category B, and 4,107 images of category C.

Pascoe, 35, was voluntarily interviewed by police were he confessed to everything.

He admitted three counts of possessing indecent images of children and appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Monday for sentencing.

Prosecuting, Diana Pigot said: “He said when he searched for the material he was in a bad place and he was alone and down.

“He admitted to viewing them on a regular basis but denied that he was attracted to children.

“He knew it was illegal, but he said it was something that he would do.”

Ms Pigot said Pascoe had told police he was using Tor software to keep his online presence anonymous and hide the images in his computer, but later helped police to find the images of abuse.

The court heard he had cooperated fully with the police from the very first stage and had confessed to his crimes.

Before his sentencing he had also voluntarily sought help from organisations to prevent him offending again in the future.

Judge Samantha Cohen said: “You admitted these very serious offences at your interview. You also said you used software to ensure you were not discovered.

“However, it is to your credit that you have voluntarily contacted organisations to curb yourself away from offending in the future.”

Pascoe, now of Boston Avenue, Rayleigh, was sentenced to two years and three months in jail but this was suspended for 18 months.

He must also carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and must attend a thinking skills programme along with the help he is already receiving to prevent him from continuing to download images. He will also be subject to a sexual harm and prevention order for the next ten years.