August 2017

Irvine paedophile called himself ‘Nappyhead’ and searched for images of babies being tortured

An Ayrshire man who searched for images of babies being tortured and abused faces jail.

At Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on Monday Richard Howard, who signed in to sick and twisted chatrooms with the username ‘Nappyhead’, pleaded guilty to having indecent images of children with a view to distributing them or showing them to others.

The offences were committed at addresses in Robertson Place, Kilmarnock, and Dickson Drive, Irvine, between 2013 and November last year.

Scott Toal, prosecuting, said that police raided a house where Howard, 34, was staying as a lodger around 7.30am on November 27 last year.

They gained entry through an insecure door and found the accused in a bedroom. The other resident of the property was found in another bedroom.

Mr Toal said: “Unfortunately for his flatmate, he was also detained.”

Howard, now living in Mill Street, Catrine, immediately stated: “He had nothing to do with. The images and the videos are on my phone.”

Mr Toal told the court: “He produced a Samsung mobile phone and became extremely upset, reiterating that his flatmate had nothing to do with the images.”

Police seized a number of electronic devices.

A preliminary examination found a number of images on the mobile phone showing abuse of babies and toddlers.

Interviewed later, Howard eventually said he was responsible for the images and videos.

He had been looking at indecent images for around three years.

Howard admitted looking at images of babies and toddlers being abused. He also owned up to visiting chatrooms where users offered to share images.

Asked to describe the images, he said they involved children under the age of three.

Mr Toal said: “He told officers he felt he couldn’t stop himself.”

Howard also admitted downloading images at a relative’s house but said his family members did not know about it.

Mr Toal said that a full examination of the accused’s devices revealed 1513 still and moving images of children.

Of these 162 images and 92 movies were of the most serious category.

Mr Toal said that there was no suggestion that Howard had been physically involved in making the images but had downloaded them.

The prosecutor said: “One thing I should point is that he was actively involved in searching for images of children being abused.”

John McCluskey, defending, asked for bail to be continued pending background reports.

Sheriff Watson said that he was “particularly concerned” about the nature of the images.

He told Howard: “It seems clear you have specifically searched for images of the abuse and torture of babies and very young children.”

The sheriff added: “I am considering that a custodial sentence may be necessary in this case. You should prepare yourself for that possibility.”

Sheriff Watson deferred sentence until September 29 and called for a criminal justice social work report and a restriction of liberty order assessment. Bail was continued.

Howard was placed on the sex offenders register in the meantime

 

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