July 2021

Twisted pensioner used a camera hidden in a shopping basket to film up children’s skirts and collected 8,000 images

A predatory pensioner from Barrhead hid a camera in a shopping basket to film up the skirts of children before sharing the clips with paedophiles across the world.

Vile Robert Malaney, 76, amassed a horrific haul of more than 8,000 images during a seven-year long campaign of child exploitation

Malaney prowled the now-closed Dobbie’s Garden Centre in Paisley, Glasgow Central Station and other public areas in Barrhead and covertly filmed footage of children.

The creep trailed around after youngsters, secretly recording voyeuristic images of their bottoms, underwear and privates.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard when cops raided his home in Barrhead, after a tip-off from child protection officers, they found more than 8,000 indecent images featuring child sexual exploitation.

Malaney had also been sharing images online with a notorious paedophile website registered in Russia.

Procurator fiscal depute Ed Sheeran told the court cops raided his home on October 2 last year after receiving intelligence he was sharing indecent images online.

He said: “When the warrant was read out to him, he placed his hands on his head.

“During the course of the search, a number of items were seized.

“These included a Lenova laptop, a number of computer hard drives, a USB stick and a blue tub containing eight SD cards.”

The devices were analysed by cyber crime experts, who discovered four Category A, 26 Category B and 8,285 Category C images depicting the sexual exploitation of children.

Also in his vile stash were 14 video files he had recorded himself of young girls.

The prosecutor added: “Covert recordings were discovered on the devices.

“Footage had been taken in various locations such as supermarkets, shopping centres and other public places.

“On August 9, 2016, the film was taken from a shopping basket at a low angle.

“The images show a female child aged between eight and 12 and at four separate points the images capture up the child’s skirt, capturing her underwear.

“In the footage, the camera holder follows the child, making multiple efforts to capture the footage.”

The court heard Malaney targeted another young girl, whose age was not determined, at another supermarket, where he again recorded “up skirt footage of her underwear”.

Mr Sheeran added thousands of images had been edited together, “so that they almost played like a video”.

Another video file featured him secretly recording a girl in Barrhead, where his voice can be heard as the camera points up the child’s skirt, capturing her underwear.

The court heard Malaney had been involved in creating “first generation” images depicting the sexual exploitation of youngsters.

These are images were then hosted in websites abroad including Russia.

The prosecutor added: “A number of websites were related to the images found.

“These websites allow users to upload and download images.

“One is frequently used by users to upload Category C images.”

Mr Sheeran said a particular website involved is the subject of “an international criminal investigation”.

Malaney pleaded guilty to charges of creating indecent images of children on dates between March 2013 and September 2020.

He admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner by covertly recording indecent images of children at Dobbie’s Garden Centre in Paisley, Glasgow Central Station and various locations in Barrhead by filming up their skirts and keeping the recordings on dates between April 2013 and September 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to operating equipment to film covert footage of a child in Barrhead in August 2016.

His defence agent confirmed Malaney was admitting responsibility for the offences, but asked to reserve his plea in mitigation until after the court receives background reports in preparation for sentencing.

Sheriff Mark Thorley placed first offender Malaney on the Sex Offenders’ Register and released him on bail to call for reports.

He said: “You are now subject to registration procedures, the length of which will be determined at sentencing.”

Prosecutors also called for a Sexual Offence Prevention Order (SOPO) to be placed on Malaney for protection of the public, which will be decided when he appears back at court on August