A pervert caught with child sexual abuse images has avoided a prison sentence.
Mark Golightly, of Riverside Drive, Haddington was found to have more than 280 images and video clips of children being abused on his mobile phone and home computer.
He was given three years” probation and 200 hours of community service at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Thursday.
Sheriff James Scott said he would allow Golightly, who is judged to be at high-risk of reoffending, to remain at liberty in order to attend sex offenders” programmes and banned him from being alone with children under 16 and from using the internet.
‘It is with considerable hesitation that I refrain from sending you to prison for a very substantial period today,’ said the sheriff.
‘The public interest and protection of children might be better served by a period of probation with appropriate conditions.’
The sheriff ordered Golightly to take part in the community sex offenders” programme and attend the sex offenders” liaison service.
The offences were discovered last May when Golightly – who has since lost his job at Edinburgh Council – left his mobile phone on a bus as he travelled home from work with colleagues.
A female colleague picked it up and intended to return it to him the following day, but read two text messages which arrived.
The messages referred to young children being abused, and the woman handed the phone to police who found 40 text messages containing images and video clips of children, aged six to 16, engaged in sexual acts.
Golightly admitted having the images on his phone and said they had been sent to him by people he communicated with in internet chatrooms.
Police searched his home and found 10 DVDs and a USB storage device containing a total of 242 images. Thirty-five of the images were graded at level four, the second most severe level of child porn.
Golightly, who lives with his parents and has a previous conviction for a similar offence in 2003, told officers he ‘just couldn’t stop himself’.
He pleaded guilty last month to possessing and distributing or showing indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children at his Haddington home between May 3 and 15 last year.
Andy Gilbertson, defending, said the public interest would be better served by putting Golightly on probation.