Cambrian News photographer

A former Plaid Cymru AM and MP Simon Thomas has been given a 26-week suspended jail sentence today for possessing hardcore indecent images of children in some cases as young as six to eight years of age.

Cambrian News reported “Thomas, 54, of Llwyn yr Eos, Penparcau, who resigned from the Assembly and from Plaid Cymru after being arrested, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to three counts of making indecent images of children and appeared before District Judge Gwyn Jones at Mold Magistrates Court for sentencing.

Justin Espie, prosecuting, said police executed a warrant at Thomas’s home on 23 July and examined a tablet and iPhone.

They found images of naked children, in some cases aged 6-8 years and 7-13 years in sexual acts with adults.

In total police found 94 category A still photographs, 87 class B pictures and 358 class C. There were 56 category A videos, 16 category B and five class C.

One of the sites visited was a Russian website known for sharing indecent images of children.

Richard Williams, defending, said: “This case has caused a great deal of distress to the defendant’s family. He accepts he has been the author of his own misfortune.”

The court was told his two adult children had struggled to come to terms “with the revelations about their father’s misdemeanours”.

Much of his work in public service had involved lonely time away from home and he “got himself into a trap he found difficult to escape from,” the court heard.

Thomas had shown genuine remorse and taken steps to address his problem and the offences did not involve distribution of the material, said Judge Gwyn Jones, who said that custody would simply delay accessing the help Thomas required.

He sentenced Thomas to a total of 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 24 months, and placed him on the sex register for seven years.

A seven-year sexual harm prevention order imposing severe restrictions on his computer use was also made.

Thomas represented the Mid and West Wales region as AM since 2011 and was MP for Ceredigion between 2000 and 2005.

An NSPCC Cymru spokesperson said: “Within these images are young victims of abuse and by possessing them, Thomas has fuelled the demand in this awful trade. It is not a victimless crime.

“His actions betrayed the trust placed in him by the communities he represented at Cardiff Bay and Westminster and it’s now extremely important that he receives appropriate rehabilitation as part of his sentence.

“Ridding images like these from the internet must be a priority for tech companies, government and law enforcement” here.