January 2021

Ninewells-based scientist caught with haul of indecent images of children avoids jail

A hospital-based scientist who was caught with a haul of indecent images of children has been placed on the sex offenders register and banned from being alone with under-18s.

University biomedical scientist Connor Sword, who is working on a short-term contract at Ninewells Hospital, was also ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

Sword, who was caught with the images when police raided his family home, was placed under social work supervision for two years at Dundee Sheriff Court.

The former Masters student was also made subject to a conduct requirement banning him from solo contact with children and restricting his internet use.

Sword, 27, had claimed he may have downloaded the graphic material without realising what it was but his solicitor Jamie Baxter said he now accepted what he had done.

He made a number of inappropriate searches on his computer which led to the material being obtained.

Sword, of Lethendy, Perth, admitted downloading indecent images of children at his home between May 20 and July 14 last year.

Police experts analysed his computer equipment and discovered he had been making Google searches specifically for child sexual material.

Fiscal depute Marie Irvine told the court: “He resides with his mother and younger siblings. Confidential information was received by the police that there may be indecent material at the address. A search warrant was sought and executed.”

She said officers recovered several devices and a total of more than 300 indecent images – including some at the most graphic end of the scale – were found.

“Activity showed Google search terms which suggested the creation of said images on the device was not by accident,” Miss Irvine said.

Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown placed Sword on the sex offenders register for two years and imposed the raft of measures as a direct alternative to custody.