January 2018

Pensioner’s large number of child abuse images

Only a man’s age, ill health and the level of the child porn images he had collected stopped a sheriff from jailing him.

Although Alexander Heeps (68) had stored a large number of indecent images and films of children on his electronic devices, only a few of them fell into the most serious category.

Appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday, Heeps had admitted possessing the images at his 17 Belmont Avenue, Shieldhill home between April 5, 2013 and April 24, 2014. 

Sheriff Craig Caldwell said: “You have placed yourself at very grave risk of being deprived of your liberty. This is the second time you have been convicted of these types of offences in the past seven years.

“There are only two factors which stand between you and custody now. One is for your age, relative infirmity and health problems and the other is the character of the images.

“While there were large numbers of indecent images of children, very few of them were of the highest category of abusing young children. Had there been more of these images and films you would certainly be going to jail.

“This is your second offence and whatever your age, your health and whatever the nature of the images, you will go to jail if you do this again and you will go to jail for a long time.”

Heeps was placed on a supervised community payback order for three years – subject to very close supervision by the police protection unit.

He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for a period of three years and ordered not to have any unsupervised contact with a child under the age of 18.

Sheriff Caldwell listed a number of other conditions Heeps had to adhere to. He said: “You will have one device to access the Internet and that device will be given to you on demand by police or social workers. You will not enter school playgrounds, parks, recreation centres or other areas where children may be assumed to congregate.”