July 2015

Paedophile artist filmed children and painted indecent images

AN ARTIST who filmed naked children in a neighbouring house was found with a stash of nearly 29,000 indecent images of children, including paintings he made from photos he found online.

Alan Bowie was caught with 28,802 indecent images of children and more than 60 videos, as well as his own paintings of semi-naked youngsters.

The 58-year-old shot a video of children all aged under six getting dressed after having a bath and wrote in his diary it was ‘a little excitement’. He also wrote about ‘trawling the internet for softcore porn of preteen girls’.

First offender Bowie, who has Aspergers Syndrome, told police he was ‘justified’ in having the indecent images ‘because he was an artist’ and they were for ‘artist reference’.

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard the images were discovered when a fellow artist visited his home in Burns Street, Dalmuir, as part of the Neighbourhood Networks project for which Bowie was making artworks.

Fiscal depute Sarah Healing told the court Bowie invited the woman into his living room where she saw two paintings set on easels depicting images of juvenile females who were scantily clad and adopting sexual poses.

The fiscal depute added: “She was shocked by the paintings and questioned the accused about them. He told them he had access to the images online and painted them himself, having viewed them on his computer screen.”

The woman left and told her supervisor about the paintings who reported them to the police.

Police officers went to Bowie’s flat on January 22 last year and saw the paintings. Bowie gave them the same explanation and then showed them the website where he got the images, all of which were young girls, some in swimsuits or clothed and all in posing in a ‘provocative manner’.

Ms Healing told the court the police were ‘not sure what to do’ so reported it to their superior and a search warrant was obtained for the property.

Police removed an Apple Macbook and a hard drive, paintings, photos and sketchbooks and also found a cannabis plant in a cupboard.

There were more than 25,000 images on the computer equipment and Bowie later handed in another hard drive which he said the police had ‘overlooked’ containing more than 3,000 indecent images and a video he had shot himself of naked children

The video was filmed through the window of a nearby home and showed children aged one, two and six, running into the room.

Two of the children were naked and one was partially clothed and three and a half minute video shows them dressing in their pyjamas.

The court heard Bowie wrote in his diary: “There was a little excitement and the chance to set up the tripod when the family across the road had some sort of bathtime and there were a couple of seminaked little girls getting dressed.

“I managed to film them but unfortunately missed a really good close up.”

Earlier entries include mentions of ‘looking up the computer for topless pre-teens’ and ‘ending up trawling the internet for soft-core pre-teen porn’.

The court heard Bowie told police at interview the subjects of his paintings and the photos were young girls aged six to 14 years old and he had downloaded from the internet or taken them from a DVD since he wanted to make reference to them when painting.

Ms Healing added: “He said none of the females depicted were known to him. He said they would have been happy to pose in the manner in which they were because they were being paid to do so. He did not accept the possibility that they could have been co-erced.”

She said he denied the paintings, photos and other images were for his sexual gratification but said he chose to look at images of naked or semnaked young girls because they ‘intrigued’ him.

She added: “He told police he was justified in the possession of the indecent images of children because he was an artist and therefore did not see them as indecent.”

Bowie admitted having indecent images of children between 2006 and 2014, videoing children near his then home in Glasgow’s West End for his sexual gratification in 2011, and possessing cannabis.

Sheriff William Gallacher told Bowie it was clear the artist had a ‘perspective in relation to what he was doing’ and that society benefitted from people with ‘individual and at times idiosyncratic perspectives’.

But the sheriff added that Bowie should not just disregard what society considers to be decent or indecent images.

Bowie was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register and will sentenced was adjourned to September for background reports.