March 2018: Whitelaw is now living in Kincardine

April 2012

Lochgelly man jailed for Fife’s largest child abuse images haul

A sex offender has been jailed for four years and six months after being caught with the largest haul of child sexual abuse images seized by police in Fife.

Andrew Whitelaw, 68, pleaded guilty to having 204,000 images and 3,001 video files which showed young children being raped

Whitelaw was previously jailed for six years and ordered to be kept under supervision for a further five years after abusing eight child victims and videoing his behaviour and the acts the children were made to carry out.

He was released from jail in 2004 with a condition that he did not associate with sex offenders or access the internet at home.

A social worker made an unannounced visit to Whitelaw’s Lochgelly home on 9 February 2011 and found the vile images on computers.

Whitelaw previously admitted possessing and making indecent photos of children between November 2010 and February 2011 and attempting to pervert the course of justice in an attempt to destroy evidence linked to the offences.

Advocate depute Leanne Cross earlier told the court: “He was advised that they wished to check the bedroom of his house, at which he became obviously uncomfortable and informed DC Keay that she could not enter his bedroom as his bed had not been made.”

He was warned that failure to allow access would breach licence conditions and admitted there was a computer hard drive but claimed it belonged to another sex offender and added: “It’s not pretty.”

Whitelaw said he had “checked it” and added: “There’s no anything worse than that you can find.”

He let them into the bedroom and showed them the hard drive on the floor but was spotted trying to hide a laptop under a duvet.

E-crime officers were called in and computer equipment and discs were seized and a brief examination showed they contained a large amount of indecent images.

More discs were later seized and when Whitelaw was interviewed he said the hard drive had come from a friend with other property. He said he plugged it into the laptop and viewed what he described as “horrific images showing the abuse of children”.

Whitelaw was held in prison but police later received information that he had left a briefcase with a neighbour and was trying to make arrangements from jail for its destruction.

They recovered the briefcase which was found to contain 49 discs, six hard drives, two memory cards and a memory stick.

Officers discovered that Whitelaw had contacted another neighbour and told him the case held DVDS containing “the worst possible images of children” and asked him to dump it, which he refused.

Miss Cross said examination of the computer gear took place over months and added: “This case involves the largest collection of child abuse images ever recovered by Fife Constabulary.”

The prosecutor said more than 204,000 were found with more than 6,000 at the most extreme of the scale. A further 3,001 video files were also found with nearly 250 of the worst kind, including children and babies being bound and raped.

She said: “The images and videos found represent the worldwide abuse of many thousands of children.”

A judge told Whitelaw at the High Court in Edinburgh: “The charge to which you have pled guilty involved a very large number of images.”

Lord Bracadale pointed out Whitelaw had a serious previous conviction and ordered that he should be under supervision for a further two years after his release.