Edinburgh crime: Care home worker Neil Cowan jailed after being caught with child abuse images

Care home worker jailed after being caught with child abuse haul

A care home worker who was caught twice 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 collected vile images and videos of young children when police raided his home last year. Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told a Police Scotland cyber crime expert described the shocking material as “some of the worst he had ever seen”. He was also said to have been in contact with a fellow online abuser and the pair had exchanged messages about their depraved fantasies.

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Cowan was 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 the pervert was spotted pleasuring himself 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.

Neil Cowan appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff CourtNeil Cowan appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Neil Cowan appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court

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. He returned to the dock at the Capital’s sheriff court on Thursday where he pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children between June 28 and August 3 last year.

Cowan, from Longniddry, East Lothian, also admitted to distributing the sick material to others on one occasion between July 8 and August 3 last year. He also had a not guilty plea to possessing extreme pornographic images depicting adults engaging in sexual activity with animals accepted by the Crown.

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Prosecutor Chelsea Martin told the court police raided Cowan’s home and seized a mobile phone and an electronic tablet on the morning of August 3 last year. Ms Martin said he was arrested and had “made admissions” about his guilt to officers 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 of the 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 were seen “engaging in sexualised posing and penetrative activity with children and adults”. Ms Martin said the abused children were described as “very distressed” and included the “horrific abuse of a baby only a month old”. The court was also told the disgusting video footage included “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”. Solicitor Cameron Tait, defending, said his client realises he is facing “a very serious matter” and has recently been working full time in a sales job.

Mr Tait said Cowan had “fully cooperated with police during the search of his home” and he “understands the serious position he is in”. Sheriff Ian Anderson remanded Cowan in custody and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register for a term still to be decided. Sentence was deferred for the preparation of social work reports to next month.