June 2021

Pervert spared jail despite being caught with indecent images of children twice

A Wishaw man who was twice caught with child abuse images has been spared a prison sentence.

Stephen McGowan, 52, will instead be under social work supervision for three years.

He has been placed on the sex offenders’ register for the same period.

McGowan appeared for sentence at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Friday, after admitting two charges of downloading indecent images.

Mairi-Clare McMillan, prosecuting, said police officers armed with a search warrant seized a mobile phone from his home in Priory Terrace, Netherton, on October 16, 2019.

It contained 138 images, including 19 in the most serious category.

Ms McMillan told the court: “The accused was unwell due to a pre-existing condition. He was taken to hospital and arrested the next day after being released.

“During an interview he admitted looking at images, saying his dad had died and he was struggling.”

McGowan was given bail on condition that he allowed his internet devices to be inspected by police at any time.

He handed over a mobile phone in April last year and it was found to contain 67 child abuse images.

The sheriff told McGowan there will be restrictions on his internet use during the three-year supervision period.

Other conditions of the order include a ban on him having contact with anyone aged 17 or under without the prior approval of his supervising officer.

McGowan must also do 200 hours of unpaid community work and will be electronically tagged for four months. That means he’s confined to his home between 7pm and 7am each day.

April 2021

Pervert leaves family members disgusted after admitting having indecent images of kids

A Wishaw pervert left family members shattered after being caught with child abuse images for a second time.

Stephen McGowan, 52, was placed on the sex offenders’ register after he admitted charges of downloading indecent pictures.

Nicola Elliott, whose sister was engaged to McGowan, said: “I can’t believe what he has done. It’s disgusting.

“He chucked himself under the bus and everyone else has had to pick up the carnage.

“This is someone who I’ve had in my home and who I’ve shared memories with over the years. I loved him like he was my own brother.

“There has been lots of rumours flying about in this area and I’m glad the truth is out in the open.

“When I first heard about this I asked him why and he could only say “I’m sorry, I f****d up’.”

At Hamilton Sheriff Court on March 26, Mairi-Clare McMillan, prosecuting, said police officers armed with a search warrant seized a mobile phone from McGowan’s now former home in Priory Terrace on October 16, 2019.

It contained 138 images, including 19 in the most serious category.

Ms McMillan told the court: “The accused was unwell due to a pre-existing condition.

“He was taken to hospital and arrested the next day after being released.

“During an interview he admitted looking at images, saying his dad had died and he was struggling.”

McGowan was given bail on condition that he allowed his internet devices to be inspected by police at any time.

He handed over a mobile phone in April last year and it was found to contain 67 child abuse images.

“We had no idea where he was, but when I heard of the second offence I thought how stupid can you be?” Nicola added.

“We had heard he had told people it was all just a misunderstanding and it was just one image.

“But that is just a lie. It just shows you can never tell about a person.

“He has put everyone through hell because of this.”

Another source close to McGowan, who asked not to be named, added: “He talked about struggling since his dad died.

“Suffering a bereavement doesn’t make you do this kind of thing.

“It’s been a horrible time and hopefully once the sentencing is done we can move on.”

Sheriff Colin Dunipace called for a criminal justice social work report and a risk assessment.

Sentence on McGowan was deferred until May.