March 2018

Highland child abuse images “addict” avoids jail

A child abuse images “addict” who was unmasked as a sexual predator when one of his victims saw his court appearance online avoided a jail sentence yesterday.

One of Liam Mackay’s victims was shown a Facebook post about the 28-year-old being sentenced for possessing and downloading thousands of indecent images of children.

The girl, now a young woman, ran out of the room in tears and was sick before confessing to her aunt that Mackay had sex with her when she was 14.

Her confession was later told to police and it led to the discovery of another girl Mackay had sexual activity with in 2012.

Yesterday at Inverness Sheriff Court, 29-year-old Mackay of Deas Avenue, Dingwall, was sentenced to 260 hours of unpaid community work, placed under supervision for three years and put on the sex offenders register for the same period.

Last month, Mackay admitted having under age sex and engaging in sex activity with under age girls between December, 2010 and December, 2012.

Sentence was deferred for a background report by Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood, who had previously sentenced Mackay in 2016.

He told Mackay then he was considering a jail sentence for his “deviant sexual practices.”

In the more recent case, the Sheriff heard that Mackay had become “addicted” to child porn after accidentally accessing it.

Defence solicitor advocate Mike Chapman said: “It is clear from the report he is working well on the earlier community payback order and he is keen to make changes.

“There has been no further offending and he is a different man compared to when he committed these offences in his early 20s.”

Fiscal depute Roderick Urquhart had told the court that Mackay worked at a supermarket and befriended girls outside the store.

November 2016

Dingwall man who downloaded child abuse images and videos, avoids jail

A DINGWALL man has been warned he faces years in jail if he fails to fulfil obligations imposed on him by the court for downloading child sexual abuse images and videos

Twenty seven-year-old Liam Mackay was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and placed on three years’ supervision by Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood after his solicitor Pauline Chapman pleaded for a non-custodial sentence.

Mackay admitted downloading the obscene material at his home in Deas Avenue between December 15, 2013, and September 17, 2014.

Mackay appeared for sentence at Inverness Sheriff Court today.

The court was told at an earlier hearing that a total of 8816 indecent images and 54 indecent videos of children were recovered from a laptop.

Three folders were found on a hard drive which contained indecent material totalling 69 photographs and one video and a single video was found on the second hard drive.

Titles related to “child models 2” and “pre-teen”.

Police had been alerted to an I.P. address at Mackay’s home being used to download the material and a search warrant was obtained.

Asked if he was in possession of any indecent images Mackay told police: “Not as far as I’m aware but something could have downloaded on uTorrent. I don’t have any virus protection at the moment.”

Sentence had been deferred for reports before Ms Chapman made her mitigation plea.

She said reports showed Mackay had accepted responsibility and the impact the offence had on the victims and his own family. She also submitted a reference from a minister and said the reports had recommended him as a suitable candidate for a community based sex offenders programme.

But Sheriff Fleetwood questioned whether Mackay was accepting responsibility and the impact his offending had on others.

“He has been brought kicking and screaming to where we are today.

He even challenged the ages of the girls and the term ‘accidental downloading’ is used (in the report) when he followed an unambiguous link which took him to the material which is the basis of the charge today.”

Sheriff Fleetwood also dismissed the letter on Mackay’s behalf from the minister.

“I’m not interested in whether he helped dogs and people across the street. What I’m interested in his deviant sexual practices.

“The impression I have is of a man who has deep seated deviant proclivities which may benefit from treatment.”

He said his impression was Mackay was only keen to participate in a supervision programme because he knew the alternative would be to go to prison.

Ms Chapman said Mackay was “fully aware” of the effect of his actions on others including the children involved and his own family who remained supportive of him.

The reports she said recommended a community based disposal.

She said the material was at the lowest category and he was staggered by the quantity of material which was found.

“It’s clear his initial reaction (when he found the material) was disgust. However the problem developed.”

Sheriff Fleetwood said if he was that disgusted he shouldn’t have opened up other files.

However he said he would make a community pay back order.

“The sentence I am about to pass is a direct alternative to prison,” he told Mackay.

“If you do not attend you will go to prison and that will be counted in years.”

He placed him on the Sex Offenders register and on supervision for three years with conditions that he undertakes the sex offenders rehabilitation programme.

He also ordered Mackay to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

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