Patrick Rock downloaded the indecent images of girls and turned to paedophilia while grieving his mother’s death, his defence told the court.
Rock, 65, of Fulham, west London, viewed the 20 images of scantily-clad children four months after her death.
He has since been seeking treatment at a charity that helps to prevent sexual abuse on children.
Sasha Wass QC told the court: “Mr Rock has always accepted he had behaved in a way that was morally wrong by downloading those images for that reason he referred himself to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation charity where he underwent a course of treatment.
“When Mr Rock was arrested in this country, his iPad and laptop computers were all carefully investigated and no images were found at all.
“Mr Rock was in the US in the wake of the death of his mother.
“She died in April, the images were downloaded in August.”
A statement from his sister in the US said: “Patrick was bereft, his mother was in his mind his only family.
“He was sad and angry and still holding onto the fact he want to be with mum when she died.”
All the girls in the images were from the Czech Republic.
The Czech man who took the images has been prosecuted as has a Swedish man who distributed them.