Paedophile Iraq War veteran who trawled the internet for child sex abuse images is jailed

A depraved Iraq War veteran who trawled the internet for child sex abuse images involving girls as young as one has been jailed by a sheriff who branded the material ‘appalling and extreme’.

Thomas Brankin — whose lucrative post-military career as a private bodyguard in war-torn countries lies in tatters today — has also been placed on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.

The Inverclyde dad-of-two was noted in a pre-sentencing background report as having ‘limited recognition’ of the victims of the sickening sexual abuse he downloaded over a seven-year period.

Brankin, 44, used depraved terms in internet searches as he deliberately sought sexual abuse photos and videos of underage girls being molested and raped, a jury trial had heard last month.

The material was found stored on a laptop computer that he hid under his bed in his locked room at the upmarket villa home he shared with his unwitting sister and adult niece in Wemyss Bay.

Brankin claimed during his trial that others — including close relatives whom he named — used his room when he was away and could easily have accessed the disgusting material because the laptop was not password protected.

The jury found him guilty by majority verdict of both taking, or permitting to be taken, and possession of indecent images or pseudo images of children between March 16 in 2011 and February 11 in 2018.

Advocate Mr MacLeod said there was scope not to jail Brankin, a former RAF infantryman and veteran of the second Iraq War, adding: “I would urge the court to deal with him as leniently as possible given the circumstances.”

Sheriff Joseph Hughes noted the deliberate internet searches that had been made to locate indecent images.

The sheriff told Brankin: “I’ve reflected very carefully on the criminal justice social work report.

“The report says you are unable to recognise the seriousness of the offences

“Only a custodial sentence is proportionate for the seriousness of the offences.”

Sheriff Hughes imposed a 16-month prison sentence.