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Fife paedophile collapses in dock after being jailed for sick stash of child abuse images

Ruaridh Swanson appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court
Ruaridh Swanson appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court

A Fife paedophile caught with thousands of child abuse images collapsed in the dock as he was jailed for 18 months.

Ruaridh Swanson admitted downloading illicit files at his Dunfermline home over a near-eight year period.

Some of the almost 2,000 images recovered by police were at the most graphic end of the obscenity scale, and featured children being raped.

He amassed his stash of photos at his home in Abercrombie Place between December 21, 2012 and August 26, 2020.

Swanson further admitted he distributed or showed indecent images on December 21, 2012.

The 30-year-old was placed on the sex offenders’ register when he admitted the offence at Dunfermline Sheriff Court last month.

He returned to court on Friday for sentencing.

Collapses in the dock

As Sheriff Charles MacNair ordered imprisonment, Swanson appeared to collapse or faint in the dock.

He was helped to his feet seconds later by prison officers who then led him away in handcuffs.

Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Macnair told Swanson: “These are serious offences with almost 2,000 images in total, a number at level A.

“I would wish to point out that when one uses anodyne expressions like level A, what one is talking about is images of young children being raped.

“The victims are the young children shown in the images.”

Accepts ‘a sexual attraction’

Defence lawyer Aimee Allan told the court that her client “accepts there was a sexual attraction.”

She said Swanson, who now lives in Barnton Park Avenue, Edinburgh, fully accepted responsibility for the offending.

He has made efforts to address his behaviour, including engaging with the ‘Stop it Now!’ programme and a therapist, she said.

Miss Allan also highlighted it was Swanson’s first offence and that he had expressed remorse for his crimes.

No alternative to custody

During sentencing, Sheriff Macnair said he took into account that Swanson started offending at the age of 21 but said this “was not when you were a very young adult.”

The sheriff added: “You kept doing it for a period of eight years, which negates the mitigation.

“I am satisfied there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial sentence in the circumstances of this offence and consider the appropriate sentence is one of two years.

“That will be reduced to 18 months regarding the timing of your plea.”

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