Edinburgh crime: Leith man Michael McGowan jailed after using friend's internet to download child abuse images

Police raided the innocent couple’s home after images were downloaded at their address
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A Edinburgh man who used his friend’s internet connection to download a horror haul of child abuse images has been jailed.

Michael McGowan, 48, visited the unsuspecting couple’s home and used their password to access the internet and browse the web for indecent images of children. Police raided the innocent couple’s home in December last year but soon traced McGowan after it emerged he was the culprit.

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Prosecutor Joanna Waller told Edinburgh Sheriff Court that McGowan “regularly” visited the couple at their home in Edinburgh and would bring along his laptop and mobile phone. The court heard he was trusted with the couple’s password and he connected to their internet to browse the web.

Michael McGowan was remanded in custody after the case was heard at Edinburgh Sheriff CourtMichael McGowan was remanded in custody after the case was heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Michael McGowan was remanded in custody after the case was heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court

But the pair were left shocked when police raid were their home after officers were alerted to child abuse images being downloaded from the address.

Ms Waller said the police were soon notified as to who had been using the internet at the property and eventually traced McGowan to his own flat at the Capital’s Leith area in December last year. Officers seized the laptop and mobile phone and following a forensic examination of the two devices it was found that thousands of images were being stored.

The court was told McGowan was found to be in possession of a total of 2,860 child abuse images with 137 rated at category A - the most depraved end of the spectrum. The mobile phone also contained information relating to McGowan being responsible for distributing 15 vile videos and three images to others.

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Sheriff Fiona Tait placed McGowan on the Sex Offenders Register and remanded him in custody. Sentence was deferred to later this month.

McGowan appeared from custody to plead guilty to possessing indecent images of children at his friend’s home and his own home between October 2021 and December 28 last year. He also admitted to distributing the material to others from his own home between 18 and 19 October last year.