July 2021

Paedophile: Shocked friend went to police after seeing man’s vile picture collection

A paedophile who downloaded hundreds of pictures of young children being abused was caught after offering to help a friend start her business.

Victor Macdonald handed her his Samsung tablet to use to write a Facebook review, but when she clicked on the photographs stored there, she was shocked to find indecent images of children and went to the police.

When 62-year-old Macdonald’s phone, tablets and computer were analysed by police experts they found a total of 3,339 photographs of children, some as young as six months old, but the majority aged four to six years.

Alison Mather, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court how the friend had gone to Macdonald’s home on March 29 last year to help him write a Facebook review for her business.

“In order to achieve that he unlocked his Samsung tablet device and gave it to her,” said Miss Mather.

But when the woman clicked on the tablet’s photo gallery she saw numerous images of child abuse.

“She took a photograph of those images and also a short video,” said Miss Mather.

“But while she describes being shocked and disgusted by those images it is not the first time that she has seen those type of images on a device that belongs to the defendant.”

The previous year the woman had seen illicit images on one of Macdonald’s devices.

“She gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought they must have been downloaded by accident,” said Miss Mather.

“But given the matters on March 29, she felt that she could no longer keep it to herself.”

The woman went to police the next day and they visited his home in Runnymede Court, Deane

When he was interviewed by officers Macdonald stated that he would normally access pornographic sites in the UK but had recently been on holiday to Barbados and when he clicked on the same sites there, different images had appeared.

“The ones he had seen, he suggested, he didn’t realise were illegal,” said Miss Mather.

After his phone, tablets and computer were analysed a total of 666 of the most serious category A images were found along with 347 in category B and 2,326 in category C as well as 164 prohibited images of children. They had been downloaded between 2017 and 2020 and there was evidence that a cleaning programme had been used

Macdonald, a former fishmonger, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing prohibited images.

Judge Graeme Smith sentenced Macdonald to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, fined him £300 and ordered him to participate in 50 days of rehabilitation activities.

“You don’t seem to realise these are real children somewhere in the world being abused in the most dreadful way,” he told Macdonald, who was also placed on the sex offenders’ register and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.