November 2020

Shetland man jailed for ‘depraved’ spying on young girls with secret bathroom camera

An “utterly depraved” predator who installed a secret bathroom camera to spy on young girls in Shetland has been jailed for almost three years.

John Rankin’s voyeurism went undiscovered for close to a decade until he was caught with thousands of indecent images of children during a police raid last year.

After confiscating two desktop computers and a mobile phone from his house, officers found he had saved more than 12,600 still images and almost 1,700 videos.

All of the images featured boys and girls from toddler age up to 16 with creation dates between March 2011 and November 2019.

More than 900 of the images and videos were classed as category A – the most serious 

Rankin, 48, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday for sentencing, having previously admitted to creating and storing the photographs and videos.

The court heard that, while searching his devices, detectives found pictures showing him setting up a secret camera, and several clips where he had used the clandestine equipment to video girls as young as 12 using the toilet.

Additionally, officers discovered a recording of a woman getting dressed in a shop changing room in Lerwick.

Investigators said Rankin’s victims were “clearly unsuspecting”, and their families had been completely unaware of the secret recordings until they were asked to identify the people seen in the videos.

Sheriff William Summers branded Rankin’s actions as “utterly depraved”.

He said: “The charges to which you’ve pled guilty relate to a deplorable course of conduct, at times carrying on over a number of months or years.

“These amount to a gross breach of trust and are likely to have far-reaching consequences for the woman and children.”

Rankin, whose address was listed in court papers as Cogan Place, Barrhead, was jailed for 32 months and placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.