A CHILDCARE worker employed in his "dream job" will spend eight months behind bars after he was found with more than 4000 child exploitation images.
A Crime and Corruption Commission investigation saw a search warrant carried out at 39-year-old Troy Dean Weston's North Bundaberg home and place of work on October 20 last year.
The Avondale State School worker was found with 4204 images and 66 movies, almost all of which contained pre-pubescent children.
Holding a blue card an obtaining his Diploma of Childcare at TAFE in 2014, Weston had a worked with young children for more than three years in different roles.
While there was no suggestion Weston offended against the children he looked after in his job as a before and after school carer, during yesterday's sentence in the Bundaberg District Court, Weston's job was described as "concerning" in light of the offence.
Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook said while the majority of the material on his laptop and storage devices was classed as category 1 - the least serious - 168 images and 35 videos were category 4 and 77 images and 13 videos were classed as category 5.
Mr Cook described them as "of the highest depravity" and included penetration and sadism.
The material contained children as young as 2 or 3 and up to 10 and, after his arrest, Weston told police he had high sexual urges and used the material for visual stimulation.
A loner who was bullied at high school and who had autism and suffered mental illness including depression and PTSD, Weston had never had a girlfriend and began watching adult pornography out of curiosity.
But from there he slid into viewing child exploitation material, which he watched for his own sexual gratification.
Defence lawyer Bill McMillan said Weston had wanted to seek help but was ashamed.
In sentencing Weston, who pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child exploitation material, Judge Michael Shanahan said he accepted Weston may not have understood how serious his offending was.
He said it appeared with treatment Weston had started to gain an insight into the seriousness and realised his offending was not a victimless crime.
Weston will spend eight months of a 2-and-a-half-year jail term behind bars before being released on a three-year probation order.
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