East Lothian crime: Tranent man caught with horror haul of child abuse images is jailed

An East Lothian pervert who was caught with hundreds of vile child abuse images has been jailed.

James Luby was found to have downloaded pictures and videos of children being sexually abused by adults when police raided his home in Tranent, East Lothian, last year. The 59-year-old stored the horror haul of male and female children aged between eight and 12-years-old on a mobile phone that was found during the police search.

He admitted the offence during a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in September but fled to London before he could be sentenced. A warrant was issued for his arrest and Luby subsequently appeared in the dock from custody for sentencing at the capital court on Wednesday (November 30).

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Sheriff Chris Dickson said he was taking into account there had been “a high number of Category A images” found on Luby’s phone and sentenced him to a nine month custodial sentence. Luby was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years and his name will be forwarded to Scottish Ministers for inclusion on the list of offenders banned from working with children in the future.

East Lothian crime news: Tranent pervert caught with horror haul of child abuse images is jailed

Previously the court was told police officers arrived at Luby’s home with a search warrant and were met at the front door by his elderly mother on March 18 last year. Fiscal depute Susan Dickson said the pensioner told officers she did not own or use any electronic devices and Luby soon admitted he owned a laptop and a mobile phone.

An initial search of the handset by officers found three Category A and two Category B movies “depicting male and female children” hidden in the mobile’s trash folder. The fiscal said the children involved were aged between eight and 12-years-old and showed “penetrative sexual activity with children and adult men”.

Ms Dickson said a further examination of the device uncovered a total of 282 child abuse images along with 73 movies showing the sexual abuse of children. The fiscal told the court among the sick collection were 118 images and 20 videos rated as Category A - which are considered to be the most depraved.

Lawyer Cameron Tait, defending, said Luby had fled to London after receiving threats from the local community following press coverage of the case. Mr Tait said his client had been “socially isolated for a number for years” and the period spent on remand has had “an impact on his health”.

The solicitor added the images possessed by Luby was “not a large a number” and he had been assessed as a low risk of reoffending. Luby pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children at his home address between January 22 and March 18, 2019.

He also admitted to an offence of taking, or allowing to be taken, indecent images of children between the same dates. A not guilty plea to a third charge of possessing an extreme pornographic image featuring a female engaged in sexual activity with a dog was accepted by the Crown.