November 2015

Highland man avoids jail after downloading dozens of obscene videos of young children

An Alness computing expert downloaded dozens of obscene videos featuring children as “a cry for help”, a court has heard.

John McLelland used a computer he had left in his bedroom at his parents’ home to obtain 53 videos in January 2013.

Most of them were of the second highest scale of obscenity, Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday.

But yesterday, the 45-year-old was spared jail after Sheriff Margaret Neilson heard he had been on a “self-destruct mission”.

Defence agent Aileen Macinnes said he had assessed as having a low risk of reoffending.

She said: “A the time, he was suffering from depression and was drinking heavily and abusing illegal drugs without seeking help. He was on a self-destruct mission and has little recollection of downloading the videos.

“This was out of character because he had a good job in IT and had the skills to hide his crime if he had wanted to. The videos were easily traced.

“This could be looked at as a cry for help.”

The court heard police received intelligence that indecent material had been downloaded at the address and raided the property.

Fiscal depute Alison Wylie said that on January 28, 2013, police seized his computer and the videos were found on the device. She said 37 of the films were of the second highest level of obscenity, while four were at the highest level.”

McLelland, of 96 Kirkside, previously admitted the offence and was yesterday sentenced to 300 hours of unpaid community work.

He was also placed under social work supervision for three years and placed on the sex offender’s register for the same period.