A PERVERT who trawled ‘Dark Web’ sites to gather a stash of “violent” child abuse images before sharing them with hundreds of other people online – then told police he “would never harm a child” – was today jailed for three years.
Craig Robertson (32) was at the time under a strict court order that was supposed to prevent him carrying out any further sexual offences after he was jailed in 2010 for an almost identical offence.
But despite that he logged on to a hidden Russian website and downloaded hundreds of images and videos of children that were ranked at the top level of seriousness by police experts.
He then used an instant messaging service to contact other paedophiles and send the pictures on to them.
But despite that Robertson told police: “I would never harm a child.”
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: “He said he had used a mobile phone to find images on a dark web site based in Russia.
“He would then use this messaging app to connect with other users and send the images to them.
“He admited being attracted to children.
“In total there were 278 videos featuring children.
“There were 229 of them at category A – the top level.
“There were a further 457 still images, 217 at category A.”
Robertson, of Main Street, Leuchars, pleaded guilty on indictment to downloading and distributing indecent images of children at his home between June 14 and August 12 last year.
Defence solicitor Anika Jethwa said: “From 2010 until 2015 he managed to comply with the conditions of his original sexual offences prevention order.
“He then became quite depressed and was abusing cannabis and become involved in this offending.”
Sheriff Alastair Brown jailed Robertson for three years and placed him on the sex offenders register for life.
He said: “You denied quite strenuously that you would ever harm a child or act on these interests in relation to an actual child in your presence.
“But you are viewing and sharing and getting some kick out of viewing images of children getting harmed.
“There are no mitigating factors in your case but you do tick a large number of the aggravating boxes.”
In 2010 Robertson – then known as Craig Bence – was jailed for 10 months at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court for an almost identical crime.
Police who visited his home on an unrelated matter found more than 2000 twisted images on his computer.
Officers then found other titles suggesting the images were of an indecent nature.
The computer was seized and sent to the then Fife Constabulary’s computer crime unit for further examination.
They found 1705 indecent images – including some at level five of the Copine Scale then used to measure the severity of such pictures.