Former uni professor downloaded nearly 750 indecent child images when he was 'bored during retirement'

Retired university professor Michael Tovey was caught with more than 700 sexual images of children. (SWNS)

A former university professor collected hundreds of indecent photographs and videos - including some showing babies being abused - because he had “too much time on his hands” after retirement.

Michael Tovey, 73, admitted three charges of making indecent images of children, following the discovery of nearly 750 images of children and animal pornography on his computers.

Police found the indecent images after they swooped on his £800,000 house in The Spinney, Coventry, following a tip off.

Tovey, who now lives in Leamington Spa, had become hooked on indecent images after retiring from academia and having “too much time on his hands”, Warwick Crown Court heard.

However, the former faculty head at Coventry University’s Department of Industrial Design was spared jail and instead handed a two-year community order and registered as a sex offender for seven years.

He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and pay £340 court costs.

Tovey had become hooked on indecent images after having "too much time on his hands" after following retirement, the court heard. (Picture: SWNS)

Judge Peter Cooke told him: “It is a tragedy that a man of 73 years of age who had, certainly until his mid-60s, led an exemplary life should have blighted his later years with behaviour of this nature.

“You committed these offences when you were a retired university professor, living on a substantial pension, who could look back on a lifetime of achievement – not just personal achievement, but the achievement of helping and educating others.”

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He said the “acute level of public shaming” had formed part of Tovey’s punishment, adding: “You had led a very busy life. A lot of people struggle with the change when retirement comes.

“You were isolated to a degree you were unfamiliar with, and you had too much time on your hands, and you fell into deeply unfortunate patterns of behaviour which crossed the boundary into becoming criminal.

“The prospects of you doing anything like this ever again are vanishingly low. I have concluded a just and proportionate sentence in this case is a community order.”

Tovey was handed the sentence at Warwick Crown Court. (Picture: David Jones/PA)

Tovey, described as “an outstanding academic scholar and leader”, was Dean of the Coventry School of Art and Design for 18 years before being made Professor of Industrial Design and Reader in Design Pedagogy.

Ian Ball, prosecuting, said when police seized his computers they found 11 images, including one movie, in the most serious category A, showing children being subjected to penetrative sex acts, a further 11 in category B of children taking part in non-penetrative sexual activity, and 749 category C images of children.

There were also two drawings and one computer-generated image depicting children in sexual poses and 131 images of extreme pornography showing women in sex acts with animals.

Kevin Saunders, defending, said: “The great tragedy for this defendant is that a lifetime of achievement will for ever more be viewed with cynicism.

“This chapter of offending will mar all the good he did achieve in the years prior to this episode.

“His inevitable public shaming can be considered punitive of this case.”