February 2018

Dunblane paedophile jailed for 27 months

A paedophile who began to amass a collection of more than 110,000 child abuse images and videos at his home in Dunblane the day after gunman Thomas Hamilton murdered 16 children and their teacher at the town’s primary school was jailed for 27 months at Falkirk Sherriff Court.

Ronald Brunton, 71, was also given an additional extended sentence of 18 months, to be served after his release, but during which he can be recalled to prison if he reoffends, and was placed on the sex offenders register for life.

Police, acting on a tip-off, raided his home on February 7 2017 and found 101,082 images and 11,353 movies on a tower computer, a laptop, a tablet, two external hard drives and three boxes of old-style discs.

The first files were dated March 14, 1996 – the day after Hamilton perpetrated the mass shooting only half a mile from Balmoral Court, Dunblane, where Brunton lived.

Sheriff Craig Caldwell rejected a call from Brunton’s lawyer to use a community disposal.

He said that because of the “vast number” of child pornography images involved, their nature, and the fact that Brunton had admitted offending “habitually . . . almost daily, for 21 years” he had concluded that jail was the only appropriate disposal.

He said a large number of the still images and over two-thirds of the video films had been classed as “category A”, the most serious kind of child pornography.

He said the still images were “frankly vile” and the videos showed “the most horrific abuse of young children”.

The sheriff said: “You catalogued your collection carefully and conscientiously in order to make access more easy, and that is a significant aggravating factor.”

Brunton, who was appearing for sentence after pleading guilty in December to possessing and downloading the images, showed no emotion as he was led to the cells.