A man widely identified as the army’s IRA informer “Stakeknife” has admitted two counts of possessing extreme pornography.

Freddie Scappaticci, 72, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

The court heard the charges related to at least 329 images, including some involving animals. There were no images involving children.

Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot sentenced him to three months in custody, suspended for 12 months.

She said: “You have not been before the court for 50 years – and that’s good character in my book.”

Scappaticci’s lawyer, Richard Whittam QC, said the offences took place over 13 days, using 20 search terms.

More from IRA

He said the pornography was still images – not video – and they were not saved on his computer.

Scappaticci has always denied bring Stakeknife, a high-ranking military informer in the IRA’s internal security unit which interrogated and murdered suspected spies during the Northern Ireland conflict.