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Two men jailed for abusing schoolboy and distributing child abuse images
Two men have been jailed after filming themselves sexually abusing a young boy before sharing the video with another man on social media.
At the High Court in Edinburgh, Richard Gallagher (pictured below) and Scott Sinclair (pictured above) were sentenced to seven and 12 years in prison respectively.
Scott Sinclair and Richard Gallagher were arrested after police found the movies on a phone belonging to an Aberdeen man called Robert Stewart.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard on Tuesday how the images showed 30-year-old Sinclair and 27-year-old Gallagher raping and sexually assaulting a youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
They established the clip was one of a series of films which had been made by Sinclair of him abusing the boy.
Police found that Gallagher had shared the images with Stewart by using the WhatsApp social media application.
Officers established the videos were made between June 2011 and April 2014. And when detectives investigated the matter further they established Sinclair had started sexually abusing the youngster in June 2007.
The boy was aged just eight when he was first assaulted at an address in the Falkirk area.
On Tuesday Judge Lord Boyd jailed Sinclair for 12 years. He also ordered him to be placed under supervision for five years following his release from custody. Lord Boyd also jailed Gallagher for seven years.
Passing sentence, Lord Boyd said: “You treated this young boy as your sexual plaything. You made videos of the abuse. This added to the degradation and humiliation of your victim.
“It is impossible to establish the impact your crimes have had on the complainer in this case.
“I have a duty to protect the public and I therefore have to impose a lengthy custodial sentence on you both.”
The story emerged last month after Sinclair, of Manchester, and Gallagher, of Edinburgh, pled guilty to rape and sexual assault charges at the High Court in Glasgow. Sentence had been deferred for the court to obtain reports about their characters.
On that occasion, the court heard how Sinclair started abusing his victim at an address in the Falkirk area in June 2007.
The court heard how Gallagher had got to know Sinclair from an online dating website and the pair occasionally met to have sex.
From 2011, Sinclair made videos of himself having sex and performing indecent acts with the boy.
In April 2014, Gallagher and Sinclair both sexually abused the boy at an address in the Edinburgh area and made a film of the abuse.
Gallagher then shared the video with an Aberdonian called Robert Stewart using WhatsApp. He also shared the other abuse videos made by Sinclair.
In June 2014, police in Aberdeen raided Stewart’s home in Aberdeen and found the videos of the young boy being abused on his phone.
The officers were acting on intelligence about Stewart’s activities and established Gallagher had shared the images with Stewart, who later pled guilty to possessing indecent images.
Detectives found enough evidence to arrest the pair and they pled guilty at the earliest opportunity at the High Court in Glasgow last month.
On Tuesday Sinclair’s defence advocate John McElroy told the court his client accepted his guilt.
Speaking while his client shook and wept in the dock, Mr McElroy added: “It is one of the most vile examples of abuse that I have ever encountered.
“My client fully accepts the complainer is innocent of all matters.
“He also accepts he will be sentenced to a lengthy period of imprisonment.”
Gallagher’s advocate, Gary Allan QC, told the court his client also accepted his guilt.
He added: “He is fully aware of the wrongfulness of his actions and fully regrets what he has done.”
Lord Boyd told the two men he could only send them to prison.