December 2017

Dundee paedophile, 28, who downloaded almost 15,000 child abuse pictures dodges jail

A paedophile who researched child porn laws and online encryption before downloading a cache of almost 15,000 sick abuse pictures of kids today dodged a jail term.

Michael Hill was charged after the huge haul of indecent images and videos were found on his computer equipment following a raid on the address he shares with his mother.

Hill had searched for and accessed articles about the law around downloading child abuse images as well as methods of online encryption as he amassed the stash of images between July 17 last year and February 22 this year.

A sheriff told Hill he had acted “with some determination” – but said he would “step away” from a jail sentence in the case.

Fiscal depute Charmaine Gilmartin told Dundee Sheriff Court that some of the content was at the most depraved level of the scale.

She said: “A warrant was executed at his home address and equipment was seized.

“In total 14,791 images at level C of the scale were found.

“There were also images and videos at category A – the highest level.

“On various dates he had visited web pages and accessed news articles regarding child porn, laws, legislation and online encryption.

“The majority of the images – 13,811 – were found on a USB pen drive.”

Hill, 28, of The Maples, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of possessing indecent images of children.

Sheriff Alastair Brown imposed a community payback order with three years supervision, 160 hours unpaid work and a requirement to undertake a sex offenders groupwork programme.

Hill will also be on the sex offenders register for three years.

Sheriff Brown said: “Every one of these images represents the actual abuse of a real child.

“The fact that they were overwhelmingly in the lowest category, whilst it means it wasn’t as bad as it might have been, doesn’t by any stretch of the imagination make it alright.

“You did this over some period of time and you went about it with some determination, including looking up the law.

“I’ve decided to step away from a prison sentence and impose a direct alternative.”