A MAN replaced the faces of the children being sexually abused with images of youngsters he knew in what a sheriff called a “reprehensible and abhorrent” crime.
Ian Gillies also wrote depraved comments on the images. Over a two-year period until he was caught in July 2013, the 57-year-old amassed 24,000 images of youngsters being sexually assaulted.
Livingston Sheriff Court heard that 136 of 168 movies on his computer fitted in the highest category of the scale used to rate images of child sex abuse. They showed sadistic sexual abuse of youngsters.
However, the vast majority of the still images he downloaded from the internet were at the lower end of the scale.
Police from the specialist E-crime unit went to the Gillies’ home in Pinewood Park, Livingston, West Lothian, last July. They took a search warrant based on intelligence that a computer there had been used to access indecent images of children.
Gillies invited officers into the house and immediately admitted he had viewed indecent images of children. He said he had downloaded photos but claimed he had deleted them straight away.
The court heard that on some of the original photographs the faces of young girls being abused had been replaced with images of children known to the accused.
The court ordered the computer and storage device to be destroyed because police found it impossible to completely erase the offensive images.
Hazel McGuinness, defending, said Gillies had no excuse for his behaviour and had since expressed remorse and admitted there was a problem.
Sheriff Peter Hammond imposed an extended sentence on Gillies with a punishment period of 27 months in prison followed by supervision under licence for a year following his release to protect the public.
He also ordered that Gillies should remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years.
He told Gillies: “You’ve pled guilty to a very serious charge of downloading and making indecent images of children for your own gratification over a period exceeding two years.
“In excess of 24,000 still images were found on your computer along with video images. This represents an act of abuse of children which is reprehensible and abhorrent.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”