A PAEDOPHILE teaching assistant who bought sickening child abuse footage using AMAZON vouchers has been spared prison.

Twisted Kevin Sheppard, who now lives in Bracknell, purchased the vile images from an online seller using £365 worth of Amazon vouchers as payment.

A court heard the now 26 year old specifically requested a video of a 15-year-old girl but was also found with depraved images of girls aged as young as ten when police raided his home.

Officers seized an iPhone 8 and a Dell laptop from his property at the time in Kettering, in June last year where they uncovered his sick stash.

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His phone contained 46 category A (the most severe) videos of child abuse, 19 category B videos, 35 category C videos and 100 category C images His laptop contained 17 category B videos, seven category C videos and three category C images.

Sheppard admitted being sexually attracted to young girls and downloading and viewing the abuse when he was interviewed by police.

Northampton Crown Court heard some files were created as long ago as 2014 and were of youngsters estimated to be aged between 10 and 17.

The teaching assistant resigned from Huxlow Science College the after he was arrested by National Crime Agency Officers.

Sheppard previously pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and one of encouraging the distribution of indecent images of children.

But he avoided jail yesterday after being handed a 16 month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

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Sheppard, of Lauradale, must take part in sex offender rehabilitation and complete 120 hours of unpaid work.

He was placed on the register for sex offenders for 10 years and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order, restricting his use of the internet and devices.

Sentencing, Judge David Herbert QC said: "You provided the distributor with a ready market so they could peddle images and profit from them.

"I hope you understand the impact on these victims has been devastating.

"I have given you a chance and I would urge you to take it."

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Prosecuting, Thomas Welshman said Sheppard said he had started downloading the images "out of curiosity".

He said: "He knew the images were of children and that it was wrong."

Micaila Williams, defending, said Sheppard had distorted sexual thinking but that he was "clearly" an intelligent man, having studied for a master's degree.

She said: "He is someone who understands the impact of this offending...he is ashamed of his behaviour."

She added Sheppard had found the experience of being arrested "sobering" and urged the judge to suspend any prison sentence he imposed so he could be rehabilitated.

She said: "He feels that that young man (who downloaded the images) was a different man from the man he is today."