Rebecca Nieto, defending, said such offences caused great harm and Murfitt was “absolutely deeply ashamed of this behaviour”. She went on: “There is a deeper psychological issue here. A former high-flying soldier was spared jail despite downloading “appalling” child sex images after his lawyer explained he had been Prince Harry’s bodyguard.Timothy Murfitt used search terms such as ‘toddler’ ‘kids’ and ‘baby girl pics’ when he searched for more than 10,000 disturbing images of children.Maidstone Crown Court heard the 47-year-old former soldier was working in London when police went to his home in Sevenoaks, Kent, in April last year. But he was spared jail by Judge Martin Huseyin who praised him for his exemplary military service.The judge said: “Your history is remarkable. This is utterly out of character.”Given your co-operation and other factors, I am prepared to suspend the sentence.”Prosecutor Mary Jacobson said Murfitt at first claimed he had only looked at adult pornography but when the hard drives were examined, more than 10,000 images were found, including more than 170 in the highest category involving children.More than 380 extreme images showing adults having sex with animals were also uncovered at Murfitt’s home.Prosecutor Miss Jacobson said: “The children were very young,” but acknowledged Murfitt had been open and honest when interviewed by police. “He has tried to get help with his mental condition, but has not received much.”He got so desperate that his partner actually wrote to Prince Harry, who he was a bodyguard for at one point.”Suspending Murfitt’s sentence, Judge Martin Huseyin told him: “You had an exemplary military career, you put your own life at risk. You spent a lot of your life working very hard to protect other soldiers from harm.”It is very sad to see someone with your history standing there,” he said, “particularly for this kind of offence [but] some of the images are really appalling.”Murfitt was sentenced to six months suspended for two years with 160 hours unpaid work. His name will appear on the sex offenders’ register for seven years and a sexual harm prevention order was made. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.