Edinburgh crime: Former Edinburgh Academy Caretaker kept thousands of child abuse images

Police were called in after one of Campbell’s relatives contacted a survivors’ group.
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A pensioner who was jailed after he was caught with thousands of indecent images of children worked as a janitor at a prestigious school at the centre of a historical abuse scandal, it has been revealed.

Thomas Campbell, 72, was jailed after he admitted possessing almost 7000 horrific images depicting youngsters as young as two-years-old being sexually abused by adults.

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Campbell used search terms including “pre-teen angels” and “teen dolls” and downloaded more than 1000 pictures rated as Category A - the worst end of the spectrum.

Thomas Campbell outside Edinburgh Sheriff CourtThomas Campbell outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Thomas Campbell outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court

The OAP was jailed for 18 months and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years after he pled guilty to possessing the child abuse images at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in February 2022.

Now it has emerged Campbell, from Port Seton, East Lothian, was employed as a caretaker at the capital’s exclusive Edinburgh Academy between 2010 and 2012.

Five former teachers were arrested and charged last year in connection with allegations of sexual and physical abuse said to have been carried out at the scandal-hit school.

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Broadcaster and author Nicky Campbell is among scores of former pupils who have come forward to claim they were beaten and molested at the private fee paying school.

A relative of the convicted sex offender contacted the Edinburgh Academy Survivors Group to alert them to his past involvement with the school after watching a BBC documentary on the alleged abuse in December.

A spokesperson for the group said: “They pointed out that he would have had access to children while he worked at the school. They want nothing more to do with him and were concerned that he may have misused his position and harmed a child.”

The EASG group then contacted the school with the new information and it was confirmed Campbell had been employed as a janitor between 2010 and 2012.

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An Edinburgh Academy spokesperson said: “The allegations we received on January 23, 2024 were limited but we observed best practice and passed these to the police the next day.

“We could not have informed the police, nor anyone else, earlier than that because we weren’t aware of any allegations and none were brought up despite the extensive and high-profile coverage of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

“As we have stressed many times previously, we encourage anyone affected by such issues to contact the police and SCAI to ensure their allegations and voices are heard.”

Police seized five electronic devices - including two hard drives hidden in an attic - when they raided Campbell’s former home in Loanhead, Midlothian, in March 2021.

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It was found Campbell had downloaded a total of 6947 images over an eight year period depicting the sexual abuse of male and female children aged between two and 16-years-old.

The court was told Campbell’s wife was standing by her husband but his adult children had disowned him and had banned him from having any contact with his grandchildren.

Campbell pleaded guilty to two offences of possessing indecent images of children between July 17, 2013 and March 22 last year.

In December Police Scotland confirmed five men aged between 69 and 90 had been arrested and charged in connection with “non-recent abuse incidents at Edinburgh Academy” said to have taken place between 1968 and 1992.

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Former deputy head John Brownlee, 88, has been deemed unfit to stand trial on allegations he tortured and abused boys at the school but an examination of facts hearing will be held at Edinburgh Sheriff Court next month.