A community leader who told police his massive stash of child abuse images was “his guilty secret” has been jailed.
Adrian Snowball initially claimed he had nothing to do with the enormous hoard of pictures because he was straight and “had a low sex drive”. But he later admitted he downloaded the haul of more than 10,000 still images and videos retrieved from his laptop and hard drives after a police raid of his home in the East Neuk of Fife.
Snowball – who serves as the chairman of East Neuk First Responders, treasurer of the Carnbee and Arncoach Community Council – initially denied having anything to do with allegations of sex abuse images being downloaded at his home. But when confronted by police with forensic evidence, he broke down and said: “It’s time to come clean.”
Fiscal depute Vicki Bell told Dundee Sheriff Court that police had received a tip off that a Hotmail address linked to Snowball had been used to upload images to a Microsoft cloud storage site.
She said: “The email address was linked to the accused and on February 22 around 8am officers attended to execute a search warrant. They found him in the premises alone. They showed him the warrant and cautioned him.
“He was questioned by officers and confirmed he lived alone and that he had computers in the property. He said he used them for slideshows and music but denied having indecent images of children. A search commenced and items were seized. After an initial examination a number of indecent images were found so he was detained and taken to Levenmouth police station. He denied ever having seen indecent images on any of his devices. He said he was a heterosexual male who had a low sex drive since an illness in 2010.
“It was explained that the devices he had admitted ownership of had undergone a forensic examination and more than 1000 indecent images and videos had been found.
“He had come across a website and would download indecent images of boys. He said he had been sexually attracted to boys and called it his ‘guilty secret’.”
The court heard Snowball had 623 still images and 235 videos at category A along with 1270 images and 145 videos at category B and 8603 pictures and 387 videos at category C.
Snowball (63) of Main Road, Arncoach, pleaded guilty on indictment to possessing indecent images of children on February 22 this year.
Sentencing him to six months and placing him on the sex offenders register for 10 years, Sheriff Alastair Carmichael said: “The number of images and videos at category A means a custodial sentence is appropriate.”