Patrick Rock avoids prison after child images conviction
A former aide to Prime Minister David Cameron, Patrick Rock, has avoided a prison sentence after downloading indecent images of underage girls
The ex-deputy director of policy at Downing Street, of Fulham, London, was given a two-year conditional discharge after being convicted of five charges.
He was acquitted of three similar counts and the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 12 charges.
Rock, 65, had admitted downloading 20 images but denied they were indecent.
Jurors were told that while none of the girls were naked, they were in "sexualised" poses in skimpy clothing, including swimwear and bras.
Although he will not serve time in prison, Judge Alistair McCreath said Rock's punishment was "the loss of your reputation and your very public humiliation".
"I have not lost sight of the obvious reality that right-thinking people will quite properly consider that those who did what you did should be punished for it," he said, during the hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London.
"You should be. And you have been... It is a punishment which you brought on yourself but is nonetheless a very real one. And it is one that is utterly merited."
The court heard that the youngest of the girls in the pictures was aged just 10 years and four months when he downloaded the image - meaning she would have been younger when it was taken.
Judge McCreath said: "These were all sexualised images of children which were, the jury found, indecent.
"They represent the sexual exploitation of five young girls.
"Whilst it is true that the photographs were taken by others, you and others like you who accessed and looked at these images were complicit in that exploitation."
Rock must register as a sex offender for two years and was also banned from using a device with the internet unless it can retain his browsing history and he surrenders it for inspection by police over the same period.
He was ordered to pay £12,500 in court costs.