Jazz singer Craig McMurdo guilty of ‘sexting’ teen

Jazz singer Craig McMurdo is facing a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of repeatedly 'sexting' a 13-year-old girl and possessing child porn. Pic: Lesley Donald Photography
Jazz singer Craig McMurdo is facing a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of repeatedly 'sexting' a 13-year-old girl and possessing child porn. Pic: Lesley Donald Photography
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A JAZZ singer is facing a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of repeatedly ‘sexting’ a 13-year-old girl and possessing child porn.

Craig McMurdo, 49, bombarded the teenager with explicit text messages containing naked images of himself and other males performing sex acts on themselves.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how the pervert also forced his victim to send him photographs of herself performing a sex act.

McMurdo - who has performed for the likes of Prince Charles and Hollywood actor Paul Newman - was caught after the girl’s mother discovered what was going on.

The horrified woman contacted police who arrested the former BBC radio show host at his home in Midlothian.

Detectives then discovered that he was storing a number of sickening child abuse images on computers that he owned.

The story emerged following the conclusion on Thursday of an eight day long trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

McMurdo, of Gorebridge, Midlothian, had denied committing any crimes and had claimed he thought his young victim was a “very physically mature looking” woman of 19.

He also told a jury that he didn’t download the child porn and that somebody who had access to his computers must have downloaded the shocking material.

But a jury didn’t believe his claims and convicted him on four charges of child abuse and possessing child porn.

Speaking after the jury had delivered its verdict, Sheriff Gordon Liddle deferred sentence on McMurdo until next month so that the court can obtain reports about his character.

But he warned him to expect a prison sentence.

Sheriff Liddle added: “It is very likely and it is almost inevitable result of the verdict that this will result in a custodial order.

“You may very well want to spend your time between now and sentencing putting your affairs in order.”

The court heard how McMurdo targeted the girl between December 2011 and August 2012.

He initially made contract with the teenager through a dating website called R U interested.

McMurdo then started exchanging messages with her through Facebook and their mobile phones

The court heard how these messages contained photos displaying sex acts.

He also got the young woman to send him images of her naked and performing sex acts.

However, the young woman’s mother discovered what was going on and she contacted police who arrested McMurdo.

They confiscated his computers and found that he had been downloading child porn.

During the case, McMurdo gave evidence in which he claimed he thought the girl was 19 because that was the age she had on her Facebook profile.

He told defence solicitor advocate John Keenan that he entered into a “sexting” relationship with the young woman in which they indulged in “naughty schoolgirl” fantasies.

He said: “It was very convenient. I was under a lot of stress at work.”

McMurdo also told his lawyer that the young girl was a willing participant in the communications and had also sent him sexually explicit messages.

He added: “She was a very well developed girl, a very physically mature girl. It was a fantasy cyber encounter. It was sexting.”

McMurdo also told the court that if he had known she was 13, he wouldn’t have been in contact with her.

Saying that his actions weren’t the ones of a predatory sex offender, McMurdo added: “It’s suicidal. It’s madness. It’s just madness. It’s like putting a shotgun into your mouth.”

McMurdo also told the court that his career as a jazz singer was now in ruins as a consequence of being arrested by officers.

He added: “It has completely destroyed it.”

McMurdo also told the jury that a number of people had the ability to access the computer and that they could have downloaded the child porn.

However, a jury refused to accept his claims and decided that he was guilty of criminal behaviour.

Mr Keenan asked for his client to be granted bail in advance of next month’s sentencing hearing.

Sheriff Liddle agreed and told him that he would also be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

McMurdo will be sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on June 19, 2014.