THE former mayor of a Worcestershire town has suffered a "fall from grace" with a suspended jail sentence for downloading more than a thousand child porn pictures.

Ex-Mayor of Malvern and former Green party district councillor Julian Roskams had pictures mainly of children under 10 and a large number aged under five, Worcester Crown Court was told.

A number of them showed children being tied up and abused, the court heard.

A total of 20 references were handed in to the court acknowledging the good work the 54-year-old father-of-six had done for the community in Malvern and more than a dozen supporters sat in the public gallery for the sentencing hearing.

Peter Grice, prosecuting, said police raided Roskams' home in Malvern on August 31 last year and took away five devices including an iphone, three computers and a hard disk drive.

At the magistrates court in February, Roskams, who is a former Green party parliamentary candidate for West Worcestershire, admitted having a total of 1,162 images made up of four movies and 283 still images at category A, the most serious, 346 at category B and 529 at category C downloaded over five years between August 31, 2011 and July 23, 2016.

He was sent to crown court for sentencing.

There was also evidence on the iphone of Roskams taking part in chat forums with like-minded people fantasising about child abuse but no evidence he had shared any images, Mr Grice said.

He told police he had already sought counselling and realised he had some issues.

"He saw it as an addiction and he believed the police intervention was the only way it would stop," Mr Grice said.

Mark Kelly, defending, said Roskams was a man of exemplary good character who had made a "positive and outstanding" contribution in the community.

He had been a councillor, elected mayor of Malvern and been a trustee for a youth charity. He had also been involved in a charity resettling Syrian refugees.

"He is an intelligent, well-educated man and he is greatly ashamed," Mr Kelly said.

"It is a tremendous fall from grace for a man who has held positions of high esteem."

Roskams, of Poolbrook Road, Malvern, who ran his own publishing company, had run into difficulties with his marriage which had led him to internet chatrooms and progressed to viewing child porn, Mr Kelly said.

His viewing diminished after he voluntarily sought counselling, Mr Kelly told the court.

Judge Robert Juckes, QC, said the images were "abhorrent" and many of them showed children in bondage or restraint, clearly being abused.

He said Roskams was "fundamentally a good man" who had been exceptionally hard working and had stood up to public criticism on behalf of the refugees as well as helping to eradicate bullying at the council.

Roskams was given a total sentence of 16 months suspended for 18 months.

He was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work in the next twelve months and to pay costs of £340.

He was given a sexual harm prevention order restricting his contact with children and his use of the internet until further order and will have to register as a sex offender for ten years.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: "As a councillor, Roskams was elected into a position of power and trust by the public.

"It is shocking he has committed crimes that cause such damage to children’s lives.

"Viewing and downloading indecent images of children creates a market for them.

"This leads to more children suffering terrible abuse and unimaginable fear at the hands of paedophiles producing these sickening materials.

"People can anonymously share any concerns they have about a child with the NSPCC’s helpline counsellors on 0808 800 5000.

"Alternatively you can email Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or via ."