A former nurse's assistant and youth worker who was found with over 9,000 images of child pornography has been given a two and a half year suspended prison sentence.

Peter McEvoy, 63, originally with an address in Drogheda but now living at Water's Edge, Ballyleague, Lanesborough in Roscommon had pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography.

A PC repair technician became aware of the pornography on the computer when it was being repaired. 

Gardaí were alerted and they seized the machine.

The witness said they later went to the defendant's home which was then in Drogheda where they seized more computer equipment and a laptop.

The court heard that the defendant had been in the Defence Forces but was invalided out after being injured while on a tour of duty overseas.

He confirmed that Mr McEvoy later worked as a nursing assistant at a hospital in Co Louth for people with intellectual disabilities.

The defendant also worked in the Drogheda Youth Reach advocate programme.

When he spoke to the accused, the defendant said he had come across the child porn by accident but had become addicted to it.

The court heard that 8,584 images of child pornography - half of which were in the lowest category of offending material – and 679 videos were found on the computer.

Judge Michael O’Shea said there were mitigating factors in this case, including the early guilty plea, complete co-operation and the fact he had undergone therapy himself.

He sentenced Mr McEvoy to two and a half years imprisonment on each of the charges but suspended them on him keeping the peace for three years.

He also ordered his name be placed on the register of sex offenders for five years.