September 2020

Pervert found with almost 380,000 indecent images of children denies it was illegal

A pervert found with almost 380,000 indecent images of children on his home computer – who later denied downloading anything illegal – claimed a social worker wouldn’t let him speak in an interview, a court has heard.

Police discovered the massive haul at Andrew Thornton’s then home in Dovehole Avenue.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty in January to taking, or permitting to be taken or made, indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children between September 2015 and July 2016.

Thornton was due to be sentenced in March, but a decision on how to punish him was deferred so that prosecutors could look into a claim Thornton made to a social worker that he didn’t know what he was downloading was child pornography.

Since then the case has been continued administratively due to the lockdown.

January’s hearing had been told police found around 374,926 indecent still images and 4,442 moving images of children in the raid, which took place on May 24, 2017.

Thornton, currently living at Bulldale Street in Yoker, was back at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week – but once again the case was continued to a later date after concerns were raised about a supplementary social work report.

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said he had “huge questions” over whether Thornton’s admission of guilt in January was “anything other than a plea of convenience”.

The sheriff said: “I have a report before me that says Mr Thornton ‘categorically denies seeing a single indecent photograph’. It states that ‘he denies emphatically that any of the recovered images were downloaded and viewed’.

“It says that ‘he at no point took responsibility for this offence, and failed to acknowledge the significance of his conviction’.

“I said before that this case troubled me. I’m not sure that it troubles me any less now than it did when we first had this conversation.”

The sheriff told Thornton: “I know you have no previous convictions and that you have no criminal record; I know your age, and I know your health difficulties.

“It would be highly unusual to send a person in those circumstances to prison – but I want you to understand that I’m not ruling that option out.”

The case was continued until October 27, when the sheriff will also consider an application from the Crown for a sexual offences prevention order