February 2021

Greenock child abuse images pervert jailed

A pervert caught with nearly 50,000 indecent images of children including horrific videos showing sexual abuse of girls has been jailed and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Craig Johnstone, 37, had amassed the massive hoard of material — totalling 46,328 images — at his Greenock flat.

He gathered the depraved collection over a period of just eight months.

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre told the pervert: “Only a prison sentence can be selected in a case such as this.”

Despite his crime, Johnstone ‘retains the support of his family’, his lawyer told a sentencing hearing at Greenock Sheriff Court.

The solicitor said: “This is a protective factor not only for Mr Johnstone, but for society in general following his release from custody.

“It is accepted that a custodial sentence is almost unavoidable in this case.”

Police swooped on the formerly-married loner’s one-bedroom flat on Dempster Street as part of an intelligence led cybercrime operation and discovered the haul of images on his laptop computer and two mobile phone SIM cards.

Johnstone stated to public protection unit officers at the time: “I’ve messed my life up.”

He’d pleaded guilty last month to possession of indecent photographs, or pseudo-photographs, of children between July 1, 2019 and March 12, 2020 before being remanded in custody ahead of sentencing.

Sheriff McIntyre told him: “There were a terrible amount of images, all of different children, and some were of the highest category and there were videos of category A classification.

“Indecent images cases are gravely concerning because they involve real children who are the victims of abuse.”

Forensic analysis of the laptop revealed 46,195 indecent images.

Among them were three category A and seven category B images, which were ‘accessible’.

On the computer’s hard drive there were 71 images and videos, classed as category A, 67 of which were accessible.

Eleven category B images and 338 category C were also found.

On the SIM cards there were 133 category C images, 25 of which were readily accessible.

Of the total haul of 46,328 images, 44,075 were accessible.

Johnstone’s solicitor said: “It is a very serious matter.

“It has been made clear to Mr Johnstone that, standing the level of category, this would attract a period of imprisonment.”

Sheriff McIntyre imposed an 18-month prison sentence, as well as the decade-long inclusion on the Sex Offenders Register.

December 2020

Paedophile caught with nearly 50,000 indecent images of children

A paedophile has been caught with nearly 50,000 indecent images of children in his Greenock flat.

Craig Johnstone, 37, amassed the huge hoard of photos and videos of young girls — including category A material — over a period of just eight months.

Police swooped on the loner’s one-bedroom flat on Dempster Street as part of an intelligence led cybercrime operation and they discovered a total of 46,328 images.

Johnstone — who is today behind bars awaiting sentence in the new year — stated to public protection unit officers: “I’ve messed my life up.”

He pleaded guilty at Greenock Sheriff Court to having possession of indecent photographs, or pseudo-photographs, of children between July 1 last year and March 12.

Prosecutor Claire Rowan told the court: “The public protection unit received information that a device using an IP address associated with the accused had been used to download indecent images of children.

“A warrant was obtained for an address on Dempster Street, a one-bedroom bottom floor tenement flat.

“At 8.40am on March 12 five police officers gained entry and found the accused alone within the property.

“The accused voluntarily stated, ‘What you are looking for is all in there’ — it was a silver-coloured Toshiba laptop.”

Analysis of the computer revealed tens of thousands of ‘unique child exploitation images’, the court heard.

Johnstone’s lawyer said: “Clearly, given the number of images, this matter will be viewed extremely seriously.

“He is no longer at the address on the indictment and has been living with his parents.

“His father is a firefighter and his mother works in a care home.

“They can hardly believe what he’s got himself involved in.”

Forensic analysis of Johnstone’s laptop revealed 46,195 indecent images of children.

Among them were three category A and seven category B images, which were ‘accessible’, the court heard.

On the computer’s hard drive there were 71 images and videos, classed as category A, 67 of which were accessible.

Eleven category B images and 338 category C were also found.

On two mobile phone sim cards there were 133 category C images, 25 of which were readily accessible.

Of the total haul of 46,328 images, 44,075 were accessible.

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre refused a motion for Johnstone to be allowed bail ahead of being sentenced.

The sheriff told him: “This is a very serious matter.

“In view of the fact that there are so many images you will be remanded in custody.”

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre deferred sentence for a background report.

He immediately placed Johnstone on the Sex Offenders Register.

The case is due to call again in court on January 5.