An "evil" Irish paedophile and a former vicar have been sent to jail in Britain today for possession of nearly 50,000 images of child pornography.
The library of magazines, videos, photographs and slides was stored in a secret vault behind a bathroom wall at a country mansion in Surey.
After a raid involving 100 officers, a store of one of the largest child pornography collections of its kind was discovered. Children - predominantly boys and as young as six - had been filmed and photographed being raped and tortured.
The collection, which took 50 years to amass, was discovered after undercover police infiltrated the International Paedophile Child Emancipation Group and its subsidiary, Gentlemen With An Interesting Name. Both groups wanted sex between adults and children to be made legal.
Co Carlow-born Thomas O'Carroll (61) of was a teacher-turned-journalist, who helped run the groups from his home in Shildon, Co Durham.
According to police, he regarded the groups as a base for an "international secret society" of "academic" child abusers to further his aims.
He pleaded guilty at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court to two charges of distributing child porn images between January 1994 and July 2005.
Judge Roger Chapple told O'Carroll and co-defendant Michael Studdert of Hindeheqad, Surrey, they were not in court to answer for their "horribly misguided" views or predilections.
But he said: "These courts will do whatever lies in their legal power to ensure that children are safe from sexual abuse or other harm."
He sentenced O'Carroll now of Leam Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire to 2 1/2 years jail.
He would also be registered as a sex offender for 10 years, and would never be allowed to work with children.
Studdert, whose father was Archdeacon of Surrey, admitted 20 sample counts of making indecent images of children between January 2001 and the beginning of this year, one of distributing them and one of possession.
He was sentenced to four years, banned form working with children, registered as a sex offender for life, and banned from owning a computer with Internet access for life.
Turning to Studdert, Judge Chapple said the material was "tawdry, obscene, sad material." But of more concern was the tens of thousands of images he had downloaded, "material that inevitably damages children whilst it is being produced".
"Every image involves a real child being abused and the more people access this material, the more demand it creates and the more children who will be harmed to satisfy that increased demand," the judge said.