A 44-year-old carpenter from Drogheda has been given a three-year suspended sentence at Galway Circuit Court for possession of child pornography.

Kevin O'Brien admitted downloading hundreds of images and videos of children being abused.

Judge Donagh McDonagh said the accused had brought disgrace upon himself and his family.

He said that although he did not pass the material on to anybody, the children in these images were being used in a heinous and despicable manner.

One image was described by a detective garda as 'the worst he had ever seen'.

O'Brien's computer was seized by gardaí after receiving information from German police about a child pornography distribution website.

The court heard how Kevin O'Brien's wife and children had fled the family home which was broken into and sprayed with paint. Taps were left running to flood the house.

Counsel for the Defence said that although now separated, O'Brien's wife had saluted him as an excellent father to their children.

Judge McDonagh said he would not impose a custodial sentence in the light of the fact that the accused had pleaded guilty.

He said that while his crime was of a very serious nature, it was not at what he described as 'the extreme worst end of the scale’.

He imposed a three-year suspended sentence and ordered that O'Brien be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.