Disgraced former Kingston councillor Derek Osbourne, has been sentenced to two years in prison at Southwark Crown Court for possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
Osbourne sat impassively in the dock, wearing a blue suit and tie with a poppy in his lapel, while Judge Alistair McCreath handed out the sentence.
Judge McCreath told Osbourne: “Those who by choice occupy a position of authority in public life have a duty to the public to behave in the highest of standards, and you did not.
"I acknowledge and recognise the effect on your family of what you have done, and the effect on them, innocent as they are, of the sentence I must impose on you."
The ex-Lib Dem leader was arrested at his home in Burlington Road, New Malden, in June and the court heard how he admitted the offences from the outset.
Osbourne, 59, created a fake family online, Dave Strider and his daughter Suzie, in order to distribute images of children between the ages of three and 10 being subjected to sexual abuse.
Some of the material he owned and distributed contained images of violence against women and adults involved in sexual behaviour with animals.
Prosecutor Peter Zinner told how most of the images were kept on memory sticks in a filing system for “ease of access and ease of distribution”.
Osbourne’s defence counsel asked the court to take into account his plea, his age, his previous character and the wider implications on his wife and two children but the judge dismissed this,saying Osbourne was the only one to blame.
"I must deal with you in respect of the downloading 2,844 still images of children and these 293 movies of children, a significant quantity of which were at level four of level five.
"These phrases roll off the tongue, but what they mean is that all of these children were subjected to abuse of one kind or another, some of it truly appalling.
"Of course you did not perpetuate that abuse directly yourself, but you and others like you are complicit in it.
"Without people to look at it, there would be no need to do it, as above all, no point in creating images of it."
"You had been downloading this material for many years. This was not done randomly.
"The material was stored and filed not on your hard drive but on memory sticks making it accessible to you and, if necessary, others.
"You created a blog in which you assumed a false identity and indulged in conversations with others of a deeply unpleasant nature, speaking directly of abuse of women and indirectly of abuse within the family.
"I recognise that there is no evidence at all that you have ever yourself misbehaved sexually with children, but these conversations paint a very disturbing picture of your attitude to these matters,” said Judge McCreath.
Osbourne, who had not displayed any emotion during the sentencing, was led away to the cells.