A PAEDOPHILE pensioner has been jailed for sexual assaulting a child under two and 25 other sexual offences including having photos of sex acts with dogs.

Peter Gillespie’s sick actions were branded “repulsive and unforgivable” by Judge Emma Peters QC at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The retired engineer received a total of eight years and eight months in prison after admitting 16 counts of possession to show or distribute an indecent photograph of a child, and five relating to extreme pornography with animals.

He sobbed while his family were forced to hear how he orchestrated photoshoots of a child before touching them inappropriately.

The amateur photographer, whose home was searched when police received intelligence of images being sent from his email address, also took three Category B images of the child, and 16 Category C pictures, some which included himself.

Gillespie, 65, at first claimed there was a medical reason for doing so, the court heard.

Judge Peters: “That disgusting story was laid bare by the realisation you had thousands of images of paedophilic abuse, and a longstanding paedophilic interest. It’s sexual abuse, pure and simple.

“There are hardly words to describe the revulsion any right-minded person would feel at the abuse.

"You took photographs of it that you kept on your computer, and although those images were taken in 2014, when the police came knocking on your door they were to find those images retained over a course of years.”

Over 14 years, he had amassed 13 Category A films and 503 Category A photos; five Category B films and 484 Category B still images; 62 Category C films and 4,198 Category C photos of youngsters.

Mark Brown, prosecuting, said Gillespie had kept the images with a view to distribute, however, he had only recently accepted he had a sexual interest in children.

This is despite snapping naked children at beaches and having photos of him touching himself while looking at the photos.

Google search terms uncovered from his computer revealed he regularly searched for child pornography and visited known child abuse websites.

But his use of software to delete and hide damning evidence meant the court were “unlikely to know the true extent of any offending,” said Judge Peters.

During summing up, she expressed the need to deter others from committing these offences, which she said was “sadly, far too common”.

If he did not plead guilty, Gillespie would have faced more than 12 years in prison.

She said: “I very much hope one day you will emerge from prison and be able to restart your life. 

“Whether your family can forgive you, I very much doubt. They may never want to speak or hear from you again, and no-one will fault them for that.”

She added: “I very much hope when you are in prison you get assistance to overcome this disgusting perversion.”

Gillespie, of Percival Road, Kirby-le-Soken, will remain on the sex offenders’ register and have a sexual harm prevention order in place against him for life.

He is banned from contact with the victims as well as visiting public beaches.

His marriage of 20 years has come to an end as his second wife, who was in court, seeks a divorce.

Katie Armstrong, mitigating, said Gillespie is disgusted with himself and extremely regretful.

She said: “He can go on and have another psychiatric assessment if he feels but having been in denial for some time before coming to court, he didn’t feel paedophilia was something he suffered with.

“He began as an amateur photographer and that led him down this dangerous and dark road. 

“In terms of his photography, he will never do it again.”

He must also pay £2,000 court costs.

In light of this the NSPCC, a leading children's charity, has called for social media companies and internet providers to do more to safeguard young people.

A spokesperson for the East of England said: “Gillespie’s sickening crimes show he is a threat to children and will need treatment in prison to lessen the risk he poses when he is released.

“He sexually abused a very young child and by viewing and sharing images of abuse he fuelled an abhorrent trade that thrives off children being subjected to horrendous abuse.

“It is far too easy for indecent images to be shared which is why the Government must force social media companies and internet providers to do more to protect young people online.”

  • Adults concerned about indecent images or the wellbeing of a child can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children can contact Childline with any concerns on 0808 1111.