Policeman avoids jail over abuse pictures

Liam Roberts. Picture: contributed
Liam Roberts. Picture: contributed

A disgraced policeman from the Capital has escaped jail after he admitted sharing child pornography with fellow perverts online.

Liam Roberts was caught with hundreds of indecent images when officers raided his home last year.

The PC was found to have collected the pictures – some at the worst end of the spectrum – and then shared them with others during online sessions.

Roberts was forced to quit the force last month.

The disgraced constable has now been placed on the sex offenders register and ordered to carry out unpaid work in the community following an appearance at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

Roberts was branded a hero when he helped save the life of a young hockey player whose heart had stopped during a match four years ago. He was credited with starting the man’s heart twice and keeping him alive until paramedics arrived on the scene at Peffermill Playing Fields in Edinburgh.

At the time Roberts said he had learned life-saving techniques while he was coaching sports teams 20 years ago.

Previously the court was told that, after obtaining a search warrant, police officers attended the home Roberts shares with his partner in Fernieside, Edinburgh, in October last year. Police seized his computer equipment and the 35-year-old was subsequently arrested and charged.

Sheriff Kenneth McGowan told him: “As you will know, given your background, offending of this type can often attract custodial sentences and often that is the appropriate sentence. But it is clear from the guidance given where there are suitable prospects and evidence for rehabilitation the court is authorised to consider alternatives to custody.”

Sheriff McGowan placed Roberts on supervision and the sex register for three years, and also told him he must complete 180 hours of unpaid work in the community.

A spokesman for NSPCC Scotland said: “Roberts engaged in a course of criminal activity for years which he, as a police officer, was sworn to detect and stop.

“He downloaded, stored and distributed sickening images of child abuse with each picture featuring a real child in a real crime scene.

“Every time images such as these are produced or shared the demand for them increases and more children are put at risk.”

He added: “It is vital that the authorities continue to hunt and stop those responsible for the growth of this global criminal industry and tech companies prevent this vile material from being published on their platforms in the first place.”