Edinburgh crime: Football coach who was caught with child abuse haul escapes jail term after breaching order

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Football coach who breached order after being caught with child abuse images avoids jail

A football coach who breached a strict Sexual Offences Prevention Order for the second time by Googling himself has escaped a jail term.

Craig Raeburn was originally jailed for 14 months when he was caught with more than 1,000 indecent images of children on his computer in January 2017. Raeburn, 58, was then charged for a second time just weeks after his release from prison when he was caught attempting to meet with someone he thought was a young boy after being set up by the Wolf Pack Hunters UK online group.

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The former NHS manager was subsequently jailed for 20 months and handed a Sexual Offenders Prevention Order (SOPO) and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Craig Raeburn has escaped a prison sentenceCraig Raeburn has escaped a prison sentence
Craig Raeburn has escaped a prison sentence

Raeburn was caged for a third time for 15 months when he admitted breaching the SOPO after being caught by police officers attempting to search for men on the gay social media app Grindr.

The dad-of-two has now been spared a fourth jail term by “a hair’s breadth” after pleading guilty to breaching the SOPO again when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

Fiscal depute Alan Wickham told the court police officers attended at Raeburn’s home on an unannounced visit to check his electronic devices which is part of the SOPO conditions at around 11am on December 23, 2020. Mr Wickham said officers discovered Raeburn, from Haddington, East Lothian, had downloaded and then deleted the Firefox internet browser to his mobile phone a total of 52 times.

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The mobile device was inspected by the Police Scotland cyber crime unit and Raeburn was arrested and charged with breaching the convictions of the sexual prevention order.

Solicitor Julie Torley, defending, told the court: “In terms of the offence, he tells me was living in shared accommodation at the time and had been Googling himself to see if his previous convictions could identify him. He also tells me he was attempting to delete historic [social media] profiles. In any event he knows he was breaching the Sexual Offences Prevention Order and he is apologetic and remorseful.”

Ms Torley added Raeburn is currently studying a History course with the Open University and has “managed to rebuild a positive relationship with his wife and two children” since his first offence.

The lawyer asked Sheriff Douglass Keir to spare her unemployed client a custodial sentence and said he would be in a position to pay a fine as he is due to receive an inheritance from his recently deceased father’s estate.

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Sheriff Keir said: “It is clearly quite troubling that it is not the first time you have breached the Sexual Offences Prevention Order. What I do take into account is that the offence dates back to over two years ago and there have been no further breaches in that time. That is the factor that allows me not to impose custody, but it is by a hair’s breadth.”

Raeburn, who coached children with East Lothian youth football outfit Cockenzie Star when he first offended, was sentenced to pay a fine of £1000 to mark the latest offence. Raeburn pleaded guilty to breaching the conditions of the SOPO by deleting an internet application without permission between December 5 and 23, 2020.