April 2019

Nairn child sex offender viewed more images after prison release

A court has been told a man who is registered blind and was released early from a 20-month prison sentence for possessing thousands of indecent images of children gave in to his “desires and urges” to download more after he was liberated.

Charles Stevenson was subject to standard monitoring by police after being released from his prison term on licence and confessed to officers that he had more indecent images on a mobile phone when they went to check on him at his home in Monetary Place, Nairn on January 7 this year.

The 39-year-old had only gained his freedom just over six months previously, on June 28 last year.

Solicitor Neil Wilson told Inverness Sheriff Court: “He reisisted those desires and urges for as long as possible, but he gave in to his ‘internal struggle’, as he puts it.”

Mr Wilson added: “He is a socially isolated individual but that could have changed if he had not been refused a guide dog.”

Stevenson did not apply for bail when he appeared in court at the start of the year.

He was then recalled to prison to finish his original sentence, which had been imposed against him in September 2017.

In terms of the new offence confessed to police Sheriff Margaret Neilson at Inverness Sheriff Court had called for new background reports to be prepared.

Last week, after considering these, she decided against jailing Stevenson for his latest offending.

She instead placed him under three years of social work supervision with a further requirement that he participate in a sex offenders’ programme.

She told him: “Given the time you have spent in custody, the relatively small number of images involved and your early plea, I am prepared to make a community payback order.”

Stevenson was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for a second time.

At an earlier hearing held last month, the court heard how on January 7 this year officers from the Police Scotland Offender Management Unit had visited Stevenson at his home address to conduct an assessment in accordance with his previous conviction.

Depute fiscal Michelle Molley told Sheriff Neilson: “Constables observed indecent images of children on a mobile phone willingly provided to them.”

Stevenson admitted that between December 9 last year and January 5 this year, at his address in Monetary Place, Nairn, he had been in possession of indecent photographs of children.

“He stated to police that he viewed the images around once per week and found it difficult to control the urge to do so,” Ms Molley said.

“He further stated that he knew what he was doing was wrong.”

The court heard that two of the images in Stevenson’s possession were in the most extreme category A, with 17 classified as category B and 341 category C, together with 45 pseudo-images of naked children.

September 2017

Highland charity worker jailed after downloading 40,000 indecent images of children

A registered blind man who downloaded tens of thousands of indecent images of children over a 14 year period was jailed for 20 months yesterday.

Charity worker Charles Stevenson appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court and admitted possessing and downloading a collection of 40,539 still images and 434 videos, many of them depicting the most obscene material.

He had organised it all into a library of compact discs, floppy discs, SD cards, USB sticks and computer hard drives between April 14, 2004, and July 18, 2016.

The Guide Dog charity worker suffers from a degenerative eye disease which will ultimately make him totally blind.

Sheriff David Sutherland told the 38-year-old that these were “most serious offences and not victimless crimes.”

He reduced his sentence from 30 months because Stevenson immediately wanted to plead guilty after his arrest.

Stevenson’s lawyer, Neil Wilson agreed with the sheriff.

“Creating a demand for pornography of this type means there has to be s supply and he now realises this,” he said.

He added that his client lived a life as an “unhappy recluse” which was more to do with his disability than his desire.

“Given his lifestyle, there is not going to be much difference for him living in a prison cell. But he will miss the company of his guide dog,” he said.

“He is assessed by the background report as being of minimal risk of re-offending or harming anyone, and that is largely probably because of his disability.”

Fiscal Gary Aitken told the court at an earlier hearing that police received intelligence on December 6, 2016, which led to a raid on Stevenson’s home in Glenelg Gardens, Nairn.

He added that police also later learned that he had been cleared through the Disclosure Scotland process on three occasions for work purposes and volunteer roles.

“He identified devices to officers which he stated contained indecent images of children. When interviewed, he admitted he became addicted to child pornography after accessing the internet on his computer.

“He admitted accessing images at his home address but declined to answer questions regarding gratification, thereafter admitting he preferred images of females aged approximately 8 to 12 years,” he said.