A Zimbabwean police officer who fled to Lancashire after his farm was taken over has admitted possessing images of child abuse.
Stephen Verwey, 56, wept as Judge Simon Newell agreed to suspend his eight month jail term for 18 months, imposing a 40-day rehabilitation requirement.
Preston Crown Court heard Verwey and his British wife had been living on Guernsey Avenue, Buckshaw Village, when police were given intelligence and raided the property. Five images were discovered by officers.
The former police officer was forced to move to South Africa when his farm was seized, and in 2015 moved to Chorley where he worked as a truck salesman. He admitted two counts of making indecent images and one of possessing them.
Jacob Dyer, defending, said: “He is of previous good character. Although he hasn’t accepted a sexual motivation he is aware of the damage caused by this type of offending.”
Judge Newell said: “ It’s a common misunderstanding that because these are photos and not contact offences that they are in some way diminished. But you must realise as an intelligent man that whilst you may have been looking only at these photos they depicted real abuse of real children by somebody and wouldn’t take place if there weren’t people going to look at these images.”