March 2019

North-east man caught with almost 5,000 indecent child images became attracted to young children in Asia

A north-east man caught with almost 5,000 indecent images discovered he was sexually attracted to children while living in Korea.

Barry McKenzie Bell, of Midstocket Road, Aberdeen, appeared at the city’s sheriff court yesterday after admitting the offences at a prior hearing.

The 52-year-old pleaded guilty to possession of 4,890 images and six videos, which varied in their severity, between August 7, 2015 and May 23, 2018, at a property in Rona Place.

He also admitted taking or permitting to be taken explicit images during the same period.

Fiscal depute Sally McAuley told the court that police had raided Bell’s home and taken a computer tower and three external hard drives, where they discovered the illegal files.

The boys and girls involved were aged between five and 15 and on one of the devices there were almost 900 images of the same girls, aged between five and seven.

The majority of the material found was at category C, the lower end of the scale, however there were 70 photographs and videos which were category A, the worst.

Stuart Murray, defence agent, told the court Bell had developed his urges and also a drink problem while he was living in Korea – it was not clear whether North or South – for nine years.

He told the court that Bell struggled with isolation and his attraction to younger children had become apparent after he split up from his partner.

Sheriff Gary Aitken told Bell he was fortunate to be spared jail and warned him if he reoffended he would be locked up.

He said: “It may or may not be apparent but these are real children who are suffering for your sexual gratification, you should not lose sight of that.”

Sheriff Aitken ordered him to complete 200 hours of unpaid work because of the “grave hurt” that had been inflicted on the victims.

He also placed him under supervision for three years and ordered him to complete the Moving Forward, Making Changes rehabilitation programme.

Bell was placed on the sex offenders register at the previous hearing.