A MILITARY historian is today a convicted sex offender in jail who has to keep the police informed of his address for the rest of his life.

Peter Hofschroer claimed he was the victim of conspiracies involving his family, police, public servants, a civil judge and other leading figures, but a jury declared that he was responsible for more than 36,000 indecent images and videos of children found on his computers and laptops.

After they returned 16 unanimous guilty verdicts, they heard he has been sectioned under mental health legislation in the past.

Judge Tony Briggs QC described his defence, in which he tried to blame many other people including his own family for the illegal images, as “quite outrageous”.

He said: “You are clearly a man of talent and ability. You have a high reputation as a writer of Napoleonic affairs. It is a great pity to see you before the court answering for offences of this nature."

“These offences were very nasty and unpleasant. It is perfectly plain that for some considerable time, you have been interested in paedophilic images.“ Hofschroer, 60, formerly of Rosedale Avenue, Acomb, had denied all 16 charges of downloading indecent images of children.

In addition to the 30-month sentence, he was put on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The jury at Teesside Crown Court heard the pictures and films, including some of the most serious form of sexual abuse of children, mostly featured boys aged from six to 14, and had been downloaded from the internet over at least 15 years.

Defence barrister Patrick Duffy said he had “lost his family forever,” with an unbreachable gap now between him and them.

The jury heard Hofschroer was arrested at York Magistrates Court carrying a laptop with 20,000 illegal images when he arrived to start a private prosecution alleging kidnap and other crimes against three of his relatives, whom he had harassed them through the civil courts and through complaints to the police.

The jury were not told Leeds County Court had declared Hofschroer a “vexatious litigant” because of the many cases he started, and banned him from bringing civil cases for two years. A month later he started the private prosecution against his family.

Mr Duffy said Hofschroer suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.

Hofschroer has been made subject to a High Court injunction preventing him from making slanderous or libellous comments about named police employees and has been barred from using a respected national website which gives details about elected people because he was continually posting potentially libellous comments on it.

He was also ordered to pay at least £10,000 in libel damages, plus costs to a military historian over comments he had made.