AN 84-YEAR-OLD grandfather who pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children has avoided a jail sentence.

Brynmor Griffiths, of Heathfield Drive, Barry, was arrested in August last year when 212 images of children aged between ten and 15 were discovered on his home computer.

Griffiths, described in court as an elder at the church he attends and the sole carer for his disabled wife, admitted searching for images using terms such as "naked girls" but claimed that if he encountered illegal images, he would quickly steer away from them.

The indecent images, 15 of which were of level four and three at level five - the most serious, were discovered after Griffiths had taken his computer to PC World at Culverhouse Cross for a routine check.

Police were alerted after a staff member found the images and Griffiths was arrested, admitting to surfing the internet for sexual images when he couldn't sleep at night.

At Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday, February 12, Judge Tom Crowther said he accepted Griffiths had generally "navigated away" from the most serious images and - rather than creating a collection to return to - failed to delete his temporary internet files. However, in accessing more than 200 images he had deliberately used search terms that would lead him to photographs of child abuse.

Ian Sharp, defending, described how Griffiths' family had stood by him during the proceedings despite the shame his actions have brought on them.

"There is a massive social stigma to charges such as these," he said. "There is a great sense of shame and embarrassment it brings on him and his family."

He went on to explain how Griffiths himself is in poor health and, should he receive a custodial sentence, his wheelchair-bound wife would have no-one to care for her.

Acknowledging that Griffiths is of previous clean character, Judge Crowther told Griffiths: "Your fall has been a hard one."

Sentencing Griffiths to a 26-week prison sentence suspended for two years, he said: "To have accessed over 200 images you had seen the warning signs about putting in those sort of searches.

"Every photograph of the sort you searched for is a photograph of a real child being abused. This is not a victimless crime, there are 212 victims to your crime.

"People like you will continue to do so and gain the websites the traffic and funds from advertising that leads these crimes to be committed."

In addition to the suspended prison sentence, Griffiths was placed on the sex offenders register for seven years and ordered to pay an £80 surcharge.