Febuary 2013

Child-abuse images teenager is jailed for nine months

A Walkerburn teenager who downloaded 757 pornographic images and videos of children on computers at his former Hawick home was jailed for nine months at Jedburgh Sheriff Court last Friday.

Nineteen-year-old Antony Clayson, of Holylee, appeared on indictment and admitted having indecent photographs of children at a house at North Bridge Street between February 2009 and February 2012. Ten of the images were level five – the most serious category.

Clayson’s name was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser told an earlier hearing how police received information that Clayson was viewing indecent images of children at an address in North Bridge Street.

A search warrant was granted and the haul of child abuse images and films, mostly young boys, in all five levels of the guidelines was discovered on three computers at the property.

Mr Fraser said the images involved children performing sexual acts, mainly involving boys around 12 years old.

Clayson, who describes himself as a musician, told police he was “gay with a twist” – the twist being he was occasionally attracted to girls.

Mr Fraser continued: “In the last year it had become an addiction and he would view the images most days.”

The court was told Clayson would carry out a sex act while viewing the child porn, but denied to police ever physically abusing children.

The prosecutor said of the images discovered on Clayson’s computers, 310 were at level one, 90 at level two, 102 at level three, 245 at level four and 10 at level five.

Defence solicitor Ross Dow said Clayson had described how it had started with his attraction towards children, adding: “It then became an addiction and on most days he would look at the images.” He explained how Clayson had tried to delete the level five images, saying: “Even he felt they were too extreme.”

The lawyer said his client viewed the material for his sexual gratification.

“Usually they would be teenagers, but he accepts many were much younger,” said Mr Dow.

“For what it’s worth he says that he has never had sexual contact with children. He never sought help because he feared he would be locked up,” added the lawyer.

Clayson was described in court as showing levels of autism and Mr Dow said he had a history of difficulties in childhood, including being the victim of bullying. Clayson had fully co-operated with police during the search and investigation.

Last Friday, Mr Dow urged Sheriff Derrick McIntyre to consider a community-based disposal. He said his client, a first offender, had been aged between 15-and-a-half and 18 years old when he committed the offences.

“He has never really been able to offer an explanation other than that he has always been able to relate better to children than adults. He was a child himself when he started this and it went on for three years, becoming a form of addiction,” he explained.

“Part of his routine was downloading these images, but sometimes he didn’t even look at it, and he is very much of the view that this is all now behind him,” said Mr Dow.

Sheriff McIntyre told the teenager: “The viewing and downloading of indecent images of children is part of the whole process of child sex abuse.

“Those who access it have a responsibility for that abuse and the demand for this disgraceful material.

“Some 757 child abuse images were recovered and in some cases the children were extremely young, and it is for all these reasons that I am imposing a custodial sentence.”