Edinburgh crime: Care home worker Neil Cowan jailed after being caught with child abuse haul
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A former care home worker who was caught performing a solo sex act outside an Amazon warehouse has been jailed after he admitted possessing horrific child abuse images.
Neil Cowan, 35, was found to have downloaded a collection of images and videos so depraved they were described by a police cyber crime expert as “some of the worst he had ever seen”. Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told the thousands of pictures and videos included the depiction of the “murdered body of a baby” and the “hanging and torture” of young children.
Cowan was also found to be in contact with a fellow pervert online and the pair had exchanged messages about their depraved fantasies. The pervert was snared after police raided his home in Longniddry, East Lothian, after receiving information he was in possession of the vile images last year.
Cowan admitted possessing and distributing indecent images of children between June and August last year when he appeared at the capital court last month and was remanded in custody. He returned to the dock on Thursday where a sheriff said the young victims involved in the abuse footage had suffered obvious “discernible distress”.
Solicitor Cameron Tait, defending, said his client had committed the “very serious offence” while he had been “spending a lot of time alone and on the internet”. Mr Tait added Cowan’s parents and partner “remained very supportive” of him and his full time sales job was still open to him if he was spared custody. The lawyer said Cowan had been “sent a large cache of images” by a person he was in contact with online and was “under the influence of drugs at the time” of the offending.
Sheriff Ian Anderson jailed Cowan for a total of 38 months and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period. Previously the court was told police raided Cowan’s home and seized a mobile phone and an electronic tablet on August 3 last year. Fiscal depute Chelsea Martin said Cowan had “made admissions” about his guilt while being interviewed at the Capital’s St Leonard’s police station. The fiscal depute said the phone was found to hold more than 2000 indecent images of children and the tablet showed Cowan had sent some images to a fellow pervert.
The court heard the male and female children involved in the abuse ranged from one month old to 16-years-old and the material included the “horrific abuse of a baby only a month old”. The court was also told the disgusting video footage showed “the murdered body of baby just months old” and the “hanging and torture of children”.
A Police Scotland cyber crime examiner was said to have described the sadistic material as “some of the worst he had ever seen”. Cowan was also handed a community sentence and placed on the Sex Offenders Register after he was caught masturbating on two occasions outside the Amazon warehouse near Dunfermline, Fife, in 2021. Dunfermline Sheriff Court was told Cowan was spotted carrying out the act by a delivery driver at around 2.20am on June 16 and again by a worker leaving the warehouse at 3.30am four days later.
The shamed support worker told police officers at the time his trousers were loose fitting and had fallen down leading him to expose himself. Cowan was placed on the register and under supervision for three years with the condition he takes part in a rehabilitation scheme for sex offenders.