Fife man caught with over 1,300 indecent images of children avoids prison sentence

© DC ThomsonDundee Sheriff Court.
Dundee Sheriff Court.

A pervert caught with a haul of sick images, some of which he shared with online creeps, has dodged a prison sentence.

Ian MacPhail amassed over 1,300 indecent images of children at his Newport-on-Tay home between October 2007 and October 2017.

A court previously heard that MacPhail possessed images that showed babies being abused by adult men and was part of a Yahoo messenger group chat that shared indecent pictures.

The 34-year-old came to the attention of the police in October 2017 after the cyber crime unit detected his internet connection was being used to access child pornography.

A search warrant was granted to his Victoria Street home and MacPhail admitted that he had accessed indecent images.

Officers found a number of messages on a Samsung Notebook laptop and hard drive to other Yahoo messenger users depicting images of child abuse.

Prosecutor Stewart Duncan previously told Dundee Sheriff Court: “On March 5 2011 a conversation took place between the accused and other users. Videos and files were exchanged a short time later including 14 indecent still images.”

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A total of 1,374 indecent images were found, with 454 of those being at the highest level of depravity.

MacPhail returned to the dock today for sentencing before Sheriff Alastair Carmichael.

Defence solicitor Kevin Hampton said MacPhail appreciated he was at risk of a custodial sentence but believed his client would benefit from a “robust” community-based order.

He said: “It’s obviously a very serious matter. He has always expressed a willingness to plead to these charges.

“I explained to him that a custodial sentence is very much appropriate. Having said that, the report has assessed Mr MacPhail as being suitable for a community payback order.

“He’s done everything to get this matter disposed of as quickly as possible.”

Before ordering MacPhail to perform 180 hours of unpaid work with three years supervision, Sheriff Carmichael said: “You pled guilty to some serious charges here.

“The number of images is not particularly high. The third charge is a serious charge of distributing or sharing images like this.

“It seems to me the Fife criminal justice social work team are offering a robust alternative to custody.”

MacPhail was placed on the sex offender’s register for three years as well as being made subject to a conduct requirement restricting his access to the internet and a programme requirement ordering him to take part in the Moving Forward Making Changes scheme.