Paedophiles are human beings and not "monsters", says a mum-of-two who only discovered her husband viewed sick child abuse images online when police raided their house.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she was in denial until her husband revealed his twisted obsession to her later that day.
She quickly realised their lives were "never going to be the same again", and rang her two adult children to tell them the heartbreaking news.
She told Mirror Online: "The first I knew of his crimes was the moment the police arrived at our house very early one weekday morning when we were getting ready for work.
"They raided the house, took all our electronic equipment away, and drove him to the local police station for questioning about internet offending.
"[It] was a really dramatic and shocking way to find out what he had been doing and my first reaction was disbelief and denial.
"It was only when he confessed what he had done, later that day, that everything started to sink in and I knew our lives were never going to be the same again."
She was terrified their children would find out about their dad's arrest through social media and decided to break the news to them over the phone.
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The mum said their kids have been left "damaged" by the conviction after initially struggling to come to terms with it.
They do not yet realise the full implications of his crimes, which could prevent him from babysitting any children they have in the future, she added.
Defending their dad, she said: "We should stop regarding viewing indecent images of children as a black-and-white offence which only deserves an outraged reaction from society and severe custodial sentencing from the courts.
"There is no justification for viewing indecent images, but I do think that society needs to start taking a more nuanced view.
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"It’s important to look at the person as a whole, not just the crime they have committed, and at least try to start seeing that person as a human being, not a monster."
The dad-of-two claimed he started viewing child abuse images to distract himself from his depression and denied having a sexual interest in children.
He said he began by looking at adult pornography before 'becoming curious' about illegal content.
His former wife said he downloaded bestiality – and potentially even necrophilia – images as well as child abuse videos.
The father was convicted of watching Category A material – the most extreme type – although he avoided a custodial sentence.
His ex-wife argued that offenders like her former husband need to have 'therapy and support' through groups like Stop It Now in order to overcome their illegal addictions and restart their lives.
She thinks harsh sentences should be reserved for paedophiles who actually make "contact" with children.
The mum added: "That’s not to say he didn’t deserve to be punished.
"The consequences of his crime are enormous: he has lost his wife, his home, several family members and friends who will have nothing more to do with him, his job, and his reputation.
"He nearly went to prison and is currently on the sex offenders register."
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