A convicted pervert who spent five years on the run has been spared a prison sentence.
Kirk Brown fled the country before he could be sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court in 2015 for downloading child abuse images.
The 44-year-old creep was later found in Spain before being hauled into custody.
However, Brown has avoided a jail sentence after spending months on remand in both Spain and Scotland.
Brown, of Glenclova Terrace, Forfar, was found guilty by a jury of downloading child porn between February 2011 and April 2014.
He was also found guilty of possessing images and videos between February 2011 and May 2014. Fourteen videos and 41 indecent images were found on Brown’s devices.
Defence solicitor John McLaughlin told Sheriff George Way that Brown continued to deny the offences but accepted the jury’s verdict.
He said that Brown had fled Scotland after a mob attended at his front door.
“He wants me to apologise and explains that he did not leave Scotland to avoid justice,” Mr McLaughlin said.
“He left because he was going through a difficult period of mental health anguish.
“He was well-known in the area and people turned up at his house, threatening him and making comments, and he felt he had to escape from that.”
Sheriff Way imposed three years of supervision on Brown and placed him on the sex offender’s register for the same period.
He said: “I have come to the conclusion that taking into account the period in custody in Spain and the time spent here on remand any custody I could impose would be longer than could be supported.
“All that I would be left with is a short period of imprisonment, which would actually have no real impact.”
Laurie Matthew, of the charity Eighteen and Under, said she was appalled by the sentence.
“Once again crimes against children are minimised and abusers walk away scot free.
“He has the audacity to say he fled to Spain due to a mob attending his front door.
“That’s a long way to go to avoid a mob and a proper prison sentence which is more likely.”
Laurie added: “While I would not condone vigilante behaviour in any way, it is frustrating that again and again child abusers escape prison.
“I accept he was held on remand, no doubt to stop him fleeing justice once more, but he still should have been sentenced to a hefty prison term for his crimes against children.
“Every single child abuse computer image is a real child being abused and those who download the images are fuelling and increasing the demands for such images leading to the growth of the child abuse industry.
“It really is time the courts in Scotland recognised the seriousness of this kind of offence and severely punished these offenders.”