A Tayside paedophile who spent five years on the run after a jury found him guilty of downloading images of child abuse was eventually tracked down in Spain.
Kirk Brown went missing before he could be sentenced in 2015 and spent time working in mainland Europe before being discovered earlier this year.
At Dundee Sheriff Court on Thursday, Brown was allowed to walk free despite a sheriff declaring that he may still pose a flight risk.
Sheriff George Way placed Brown, 44, on supervision for three years and placed him on the sex offenders register for the same period.
However he allowed him to avoid prison because he had already spent five weeks behind bars in a Spanish jail followed by a further period on remand in Scotland.
Brown, of Glenclova Terrace, Forfar, was found guilty of downloading child abuse material at his former home in Dundee between February 16 2011 and April 2 2014.
He was also found guilty of possessing images and videos between February 16 2011 and May 8 2014. The jury heard he had 14 videos and 41 images.
Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, said: “His position is still that he did not commit these offences, but he accepts the decision of the jury.”
Mr McLaughlin said Brown fled Scotland in the wake of the jury’s verdict because he was “well known” and a mob had gathered at his home.
He added: “He wants me to apologise and explains that he did not leave Scotland to avoid justice. He left because he was going through a difficult period of mental health anguish.
“He was well known in the area and people turned up at his house, threatening him and making comments, and he felt he had to escape from that.
“He knows he should have come to court and got matters dealt with years ago. He spent five weeks in custody in Spain before being transferred here.”
Sheriff Way said: “Although it was five years ago, I clearly remember throughout that his position was that others were responsible. That was put to the jury but they made their decision.
“Clearly there is the risk of flight again. I have come to the conclusion that taking into account the period in custody in Spain and the time spent here on remand any custody I could impose would be longer than could be supported.
“All that I would be left with is a short period of imprisonment, which would actually have no real impact.”