A perverted priest has avoided jail despite being caught with thousands of child porn images on his computer.

Father Timothy Gardner, of Potters Court, off Rosebery Road in Sutton, admitted 10 counts of making indecent images and one count of possession of prohibited images at Southwark Crown Court.

The 42-year-old, who taught at Maria Fidelis Convent School in Camden until 2012 .was described as a "senior figure" in Catholic education by Camden Council.

He was sentenced to eight months in jail but the sentence was suspended for two years at Southwark Crown Court this morning.

The images were found when police raided his former address in Camden after receiving a tip-off in August last year.

He was arrested after officers found 532 indecent images of children and 5,005 prohibited images.

Among the images were several in the most serious categories, some of which depicted rape and even bestiality.

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Braithwaite of the Met's paedophile command: "Every indecent image accessed by Timothy Gardner was a real child, a vulnerable victim of crime.

"His selfish and abhorrent actions have contributed significantly to the destruction of these vulnerable victim's childhoods.

"The MPS Paedophile Unit will identify and bring those that possess and distribute these images to justice."

Gardner taught philosophy and religious education at Maria Fidelis, was Catholic chaplain at the Royal Free Hospital in London and a governor of Rye St Antony, an independent girls' schools in Oxford.

He was even a speaker at a Catholic Education Service on ethics in the curriculum in 2012.

Gardner admitted the offences on March 3 but sentencing was adjourned until today while a report detailing his alcohol problems was prepared.

He was given a five year sexual offences prevention order and will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years.