September 2017

Highland charity worker jailed after downloading 40,000 indecent images of children

A registered blind man who downloaded tens of thousands of indecent images of children over a 14 year period was jailed for 20 months yesterday.

Charity worker Charles Stevenson appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court and admitted possessing and downloading a collection of 40,539 still images and 434 videos, many of them depicting the most obscene material.

He had organised it all into a library of compact discs, floppy discs, SD cards, USB sticks and computer hard drives between April 14, 2004, and July 18, 2016.

The Guide Dog charity worker suffers from a degenerative eye disease which will ultimately make him totally blind.

Sheriff David Sutherland told the 38-year-old that these were “most serious offences and not victimless crimes.”

He reduced his sentence from 30 months because Stevenson immediately wanted to plead guilty after his arrest.

Stevenson’s lawyer, Neil Wilson agreed with the sheriff.

“Creating a demand for pornography of this type means there has to be s supply and he now realises this,” he said.

He added that his client lived a life as an “unhappy recluse” which was more to do with his disability than his desire.

“Given his lifestyle, there is not going to be much difference for him living in a prison cell. But he will miss the company of his guide dog,” he said.

“He is assessed by the background report as being of minimal risk of re-offending or harming anyone, and that is largely probably because of his disability.”

Fiscal Gary Aitken told the court at an earlier hearing that police received intelligence on December 6, 2016, which led to a raid on Stevenson’s home in Glenelg Gardens, Nairn.

He added that police also later learned that he had been cleared through the Disclosure Scotland process on three occasions for work purposes and volunteer roles.

“He identified devices to officers which he stated contained indecent images of children. When interviewed, he admitted he became addicted to child pornography after accessing the internet on his computer.

“He admitted accessing images at his home address but declined to answer questions regarding gratification, thereafter admitting he preferred images of females aged approximately 8 to 12 years,” he said.