April 2018

IT technician at posh local school who downloaded child abuse images gets bail

A staff member at a £33,000 a year boarding school is facing jail after being caught downloading sick indecent images of children.

Andrew Sutton was an IT technician at the exclusive St Leonards School in St Andrews, Fife, where day pupils pay fees of £13,596 a year and boarders £33,162 per annum.

He was arrested when police were handed “confidential information” that a computer at his house had accessed indecent images of children.

A spokesperson for the school – where pupils learn golf on the world famous Old Course – today said Sutton had been suspended the day the allegations had come to light and that the school were “appalled by his behaviour”.

Fiscal depute Charmaine Gilmartin told Dundee Sheriff Court: “At the time of the investigation he worked as an IT engineer at a school and held a child PVG [disclosure certificate].

“During March 2017 cyber crime officers received confidential information that devices at his address contained indecent images of children.

“A search warrant was granted and at 7.45am on March 2 last year police attended his home and executed the warrant.

“Nobody was present so police attended the accused’s workplace.

“He co-operated with officers and returned with officers to his home.

“Two laptops were recovered at the home and a forensic analysis of one of then found it contained indecent images of children.

“File sharing software had been used to download two files indicative of indecent images.

“A number of downloaded files had names indicative of indecent content though they were no longer accessible.

“There were seven images at category A, two at category B and 29 at category C.

“There was also one category A video and one video at category C.

“It is not known when the files were downloaded and deleted and the dates of the charge are a range from when the laptop was manufactured and the date of the search.”

Sutton, 59, of St Michaels Drive, Cupar, pleaded guilty on indictment to taking or making indecent images of children by downloading them at his home address between February 1 2011 and March 2 2017.

Defence solicitor Douglas Williams said: “It is my submission that in due course that given the limited number of images and the fact they were inaccessible that the case can be dealt with in the community.”

Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC deferred sentence until June for social work background reports and released Sutton on bail meantime.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register meantime.

The sheriff said: “You have pled guilty to this charge on indictment which is obviously a serious matter.”