December 2015

Army cadet instructor banned from contacting children


AN army cadet instructor who downloaded photographs of young boys in bondage situations has been banned from contacting children.

Michael Macrae kept indecent images of children being sadistically and sexually abused in a folder entitled ‘barefeet’.

He appeared for sentence today after Sheriff David Sutherland wanted a psychological assessment.

Sheriff Sutherland agreed and told Macrae, 23, he must not contact anyone under the age of 18 without prior approval.

He also instructed him to allow police or social workers to examine any device he may have so his internet history can be monitored.

He banned him from deleting any website history and from having any devices which do not record that history.

Macrae, from Nairn, also has to take part in any sex offender or psychological treatment recommended by his supervising officer.

The court heard at an earlier hearing that Macrae’s crime was uncovered by police cybercrime experts after a tip-off.

They found a total of 91 images on a folder called “barefeet” on his base unit which also contained legal but distasteful images of mostly young boys in bondage situation, some having their feet tickled.

Almost half of the illegal images were of the most graphic nature of sadism involving youngsters aged between 10 and 14 tied up with their mouths taped and hanging from the ceiling. Many of them were engaged in sexual activity with themselves or adults.

These images had been copied on to another folder from a sharing folder on the same computer, belonging to Michael Macrae whose address was given as 14 Merryton Crescent, Nairn.

He had denied possessing the images and permitting them to be made or taken at addresses in Inverness and Nairn between July 8, 2011 and November 24, 2012.
Mr Henderson lodged a special defence that his client had not seen the images or knew that they were indecent.

But a jury unanimously rejected this and found him guilty earlier this year after cybercrime analysts told the court that it was unlikely he didn’t know the images were indecent.

Retired police officer Brian Moggach told Mr Henderson: “Someone can’t put them in that folder inadvertently because they all went in at the same time.

“Someone had to put them in there for sharing and someone has to create the folder.”

But a casual remark by Macrae to police who had obtained search warrants for houses he had occupied, also led to his conviction. The court heard he was overseeing army cadets at the Fort George shooting range when he was challenged about his collection.

The jury heard that Macrae told police officers who informed him they had warrants to look for child porn on his computers: “Unless, when I was younger I did like to look at people tied up.”

Mr Henderson said yesterday: “My client may suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome and has also been assessed as suitable to participate in a sex offender’s programme.

“I am asking the court not to jail him so he can participate in that programme and any others that the court may see fit to instruct.”