A court has heard how a children's nurse had vile images of child abuse on his home computer.
Falkirk Sheriff Court was told that Stuart Lilley, who cared for ill children at Edinburgh's Sick Kids Hospital, was found to have more than 6,000 indecent images on his PC.
He was initially reported to the police when his disgusted then-girlfriend found a sickening image of a toddler on his laptop.
After being charged, Lilley resigned from his position as a paediatric nurse in the intensive care unit at the hospital.
He admitted that between 8 August 2010 and 16 August 2011 he had in his possession indecent photographs of children.
Sheriff John Mundy chose not to imprison Lilley, but to put him on probation and the sex offenders' register for three years. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
His defence lawyer Lorraine Glancy had told the court:
"He accepts that he will never return to the job that he trained for for a number of years. He also understands that his future employment hopes in general will be severely limited given this conviction."
She said that character references from Lilley's family and friends described him as 'kind and considerate', and that they believed his offending had been a 'blip'.
She also added that she thought it was not inevitable that Lilley be jailed because of the nature of the pictures found, saying 'there were 111 real images, and more than half had been earlier deleted. Over 6,500 were cartoon images, if they can be described as that. In the vast majority of the pictures, no children were harmed in any way by their production.'
Sentencing Lilley, the sheriff told him: "There is no doubt that the court recognises these sorts of crimes as very serious.
"However, I've taken into account what has been said on your behalf, and believe I can just - and only just - avoid sending you to prison."
The disgraced former-nurse left the court to chants of 'beast' from an assembled group including young children.