Child porn accused blames images on computer virus

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A TV advert maker accused of having child pornography at his New Town home blamed a computer virus for downloading the images, a court has heard.

Ian Black is on trial after a tip-off led police to his home in Manor Place where his computer was allegedly found to contain more than 100 child sex photographs.

The jury heard that Black had installed software on the computer to wipe its internet browsing history each time it was turned off.

But Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard yesterday that forensic computer experts were able to recover the images, along with web searches for subjects such as “12-year-old having sex”, “naked kids” and “nude photos of sissy boys”.

The 56-year-old has denied a charge of possessing child pornography on May 26 last year, the day officers called at his family home with a search warrant. Black, an art director in advertising and marketing, was involved in making television adverts until he was made redundant and is currently searching for a new job.

The court was shown footage of detectives from the Child Protection Internet Investigation Unit interviewing Black at Gayfield Police Station on June 6 last year before he was arrested and charged.

Black admitted viewing adult pornography on the computer but denied ever searching for sexual images of children. When confronted with the forensic analysis of his hard drive, Black said: “I don’t understand where they’ve come from”.

He added: “I can’t believe that was on my computer. Someone has put that on our computer. I would never have done that in my life. The computer could have been affected with some sort of virus. I’ve never in my life put in ‘sex with a 12-year-old child’.

“I’m absolutely gobsmacked that you have searches as blatant as that.”

Black, who said he was “terrible” with computers, told officers that “pop-ups” featuring possible child sex images had come up on his screen when looked at adult pornography. He said that his computer had also suffered “some sort of seizure” where he was unable to get rid of such images by turning the system on and off. Black added: “It had a virus in it or something. I’ve seen what looked like a ‘lolita’ website. I tried to get rid of it.

“I have looked up the film ‘Lolita’. I’m not sure if that was the cause of it.”

Black denied having a sexual attraction to young girls or boys.

He said that he downloaded software to wipe the internet history to make the system run faster and prevent viruses. He added: “That may be the cause of this.”

The court heard that the haul of images included 17 at Level 4 – the second highest “grade” of abuse on the sentencing scale – one of which involved a girl aged between 18 and 24 months being molested.

Another image at Level 5 – the highest on the scale – showed a girl aged around 14 being sexually tortured.

Most of the other images were of girls aged between six and 14, with some boys also among the victims.

Detective Constable Steven Laurie, who interviewed Black, told the court he asked Black if he had ever accessed child pornography. He told the court that Black said: “Not as far as I’m aware. I have accessed adult pornography and something like that has popped up on my screen.”

The trial continues.