An Angus man has admitted possessing a sickening haul of computer images of child abuse including videos involving youngsters just three years old.
Among the catalogue of more than 13,500 photographs and videos discovered on the computer equipment of 64-year-old offshore radio operator Derek Lawrence were in excess of 200 images and some 20 video clips at the most serious level of the scale used to categorise indecent material relating to children.
Police discovered the vast haul of appalling content after receiving intelligence relating to the downloading of such material at Lawrence’s home in Cortachy Crescent, Kirriemuir.
When initially asked by police if he knew why they might have arrived at his Northmuir home with a search warrant, Lawrence said he thought it would be in connection with ”downloading porn”.
He would later go on to make the admission during a police interview that he found child abuse images ”quite exciting”, telling investigating officers that he was addicted to it. But he told specialist personnel he believed he would not be caught because he didn’t subscribe to the sordid sites.
Lawrence appeared on indictment before Sheriff Kevin Veal at Forfar on Thursday, where he admitted that on May 20 last year, at his home address, he was in possession of indecent photos or pseudo photographs of children, and that between July 28 2009 and May 20 last year he took or permitted to be taken, or made indecent photos or pseudo photographs of children.
He sat in the dock as fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie narrated the circumstances which led officers to unearth the images on computers which Lawrence admitted only he had access to.
Ms Gillespie said police received intelligence linking a computer at the accused’s home address to such material. No-one was at the house when they first arrived there, but they made contact with the accused’s wife and she arranged for her husband to be at the property to meet them.
First offender Lawrence told officers he had visited websites containing general pornography and child abuse images, and directed police to computer equipment within the house, which was seized and subsequently examined.
The court was given the breakdown of images and videos at the five levels on the scale used to categorise indecent images of children. The haul ranged from 5,098 photos and 39 videos at the lower level one to 201 images and 20 videos at the most serious level five.
In a voluntary interview at Arbroath police office, Lawrence told officers he had used file sharing sites to access material, explaining how he would type in certain entries to find images.
Lawrence was then shown a selection of images and video clips and the court heard he described to officers scenes of abuse involving young girls aged from just three or four up to around 12-14 years old.
He was also asked if he knew it was illegal to search sites for such material and said he did.
Ms Gillespie added: ”He said that he didn’t think he would get caught as he didn’t pay or subscribe.”
A file sharing site was found on two of the computers, and she added: ”Although there’s no evidence to prove that he is involved in the distribution, the facility was there on his computer.”
Sheriff Kevin Veal deferred sentence on Lawrence until April 5 for the preparation of social work and Tay Project reports.
He also placed the accused on the sex offenders register, the period of the order to be determined when he returns to court for sentence.