Welkom -A former policeman has been sentenced to 45 years for child pornography offences, described by the prosecutor as being “from the heart of darkness”.

Magistrate Tiloshni Ramdeyal, in the Welkom district court, handed down a 45-year sentence to Andre Botha, of which he will serve an effective 15 years, Beeld reported on Thursday.

Ramdeyal could find no extenuating circumstances, and said on Wednesday that sentencing procedures would happen in camera, as most of the trial had been behind closed doors.

Shocking pictures that depicted sexual acts with children, some of which involved animals, were handed in as part of the court case.

Charmaine Labuschagne, the court's control prosecutor, said the conclusion of the trial was a huge relief to her.

“It was very traumatic, and it made me physically ill. I lived with this for more than a year.”

The offences took place in Bloemfontein, Welkom, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bronkhorstspruit and Durban, but it was decided to centralise the trial in Welkom because of Labuschagne's successful track record with similar cases.

According to bank statements, Botha sometimes spent up to R8 000 a month downloading child porn, and had offered to pay a nursery school teacher R1 000 per photograph of a naked child. - Sapa