A DISGRACED child psychiatrist who was found in possession of over 2,000 indecent images of children has escaped jail.

Dr Adrian Marsden, 60, who worked as an adolescent mental health psychiatrist at Pebble Lodge treatment centre in Westbourne, had pornographic pictures of children as young as eight years old.

His 10 year fetish was exposed at an amateur dramatics evening when he asked a fellow performer for help downloading an app on to his phone for 'learning his lines'.

She was horrified to discover a thumbnail to an indecent image of a child on his device and later confronted him about it.

She then reported Marsden, a married father-of-two, to the police and he was arrested at his place of work the next day.

Police found 1,982 Category C images and 42 more serious prohibited images showing 'corporal punishment' of children on his computer which were stockpiled between May 2010 and January 2020.

Marsden pleaded guilty to charges of making indecent photos of children and possessing prohibited images of children under the Protection of Child Act (1978) at Poole Magistrates' Court.

But Marsden, of Brownsea Road, Poole, avoided custody and was instead fined £2,500 and given five year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Jason Spelman, prosecuting, said: "In October 2019, the defendant was at an evening acting class he ran at Bournemouth University and he wanted to download an app to help him learn his lines.

"A woman offered to help him with this and when she was handling his phone she noticed a thumbnail which led to an image of a child in a sexual pose.

"She was concerned about this and decided to confront him at a meeting on January 7, 2020, saying she could not work with him.

"He told her he had a fetish and had hundreds of images which he was ashamed of and he wanted to get help but if he told his work he would get the sack.

"The woman contacted the police and they arrested him at Pebble Lodge and police found he had a large number of indecent images of children as young as eight years old."

Mitigating, David Hurley said that Marsden had never 'breached trust' by acting on his urges with any of his vulnerable patients.

He said that he had been suspended by the General Medical Council and was likely to be 'struck off' following a disciplinary tribunal.

He said: "Dr Marsden started downloading indecent images in 2010 and there were periods when he left them well alone.

"He deleted some of the images as he knew what he was doing was wrong but like a smoker who is trying to quit smoking who keeps some cigarettes he kept some.

"These, he looked at in times of trauma, such as when he was suffering depression in late 2017 and 2018.

"Dr Marsden separated his professional and private life and never acted upon it (his urges) through contact with children.

"He is now heavily engaged in Sex Addicts Anonymous and knows he is likely to be struck off by the General Medical Council."

In sentencing judge Stephen Nicholls said: "The defendant occupied a position where members of the public would expect a professional to be trusted and if they knew his background it would undoubtedly have been concerning to them.

"You have lost your good character and your professional reputation."

Marsden was also given an 18 month community order and told to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Afterwards the Dorset HealthCare Trust said Marsden no longers works for the organisation.

Eugine Yafele, Dorset HealthCare chief executive, said: "As soon as we were made aware of it (this matter), Dr Marsden was suspended while we launched our own internal inquiry.

"Dr Marsden no longer works for the trust. We have also informed the General Medical Council.

"It is important to stress there is no evidence these offences involved any of our patients, or were connected to them in any way.

"Nonetheless, we are shocked and appalled by what has happened, and Dr Marsden's colleagues at Pebble Lodge are deeply shaken."

Dorset HealthCare has a dedicated phone number – 01305 363075 – for people who wish to discuss any concerns they have or access support.