July 2021

Perthshire pervert who blamed dead son for downloading child abuse images is spared prison

A paedophile dad who tried to blame his dead son for a hidden stash of child abuse images has been spared jail.

Pensioner Ewan MacLeod was found guilty of downloading thousands of illicit photos and videos – including some at the top end of the obscenity scale – at his home in Glenfarg.

Jurors at Perth Sheriff Court rejected his claim the files had been downloaded over a 10-year period by his musician son Douglas, before his sudden death.

MacLeod, 69, dodged a prison sentence when he returned to the dock on Monday.

He was instead ordered to carry out unpaid work as part of a two-year community payback order.

Solicitor David Holmes said his client continues to maintain his innocence.

“Given the nature of the offence, and given Mr MacLeod’s history, it seems to me that the court is faced with a choice between custody or a direct alternative to custody,” he said.

“Perhaps it would be appropriate to impose a period of unpaid work.”

The court heard more than 4,800 photographs and 21 videos were found across a range of devices seized by police at MacLeod’s home.

Jurors were told a computer containing images was found in a room which had been used by MacLeod’s son.

Sheriff William Wood told MacLeod: “The jury at your trial were clearly satisfied on the basis of the evidence they heard that you were responsible for these photographs.

“I need to balance your previous good character against the duration of your offending.

“Although the threshold for a custodial sentence has been met, there is another way to deal with this.

“I take into account the relatively low number of category A and B images.”

The court heard McLeod deny he was a computer expert who would have been able to hide the images or delete any trace of them.

However, he admitted working in IT and that he had been able to put the computer at the centre of the case together from parts salvaged from other devices.

He was found guilty of downloading the obscene files at his home between March 2, 2007, and December 2, 2017.

MacLeod was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work as part of a two-year community payback and supervision order. He will also remain on the sex offenders’ register for the length of the order.

Equipment including a laptop has been forfeited by prosecutors.