Woman finds child porn on Hawick dad’s computer

Edinburgh Sheriff Court. File picture: Ian Georgeson
Edinburgh Sheriff Court. File picture: Ian Georgeson

A woman reported her Hawick father to the police when she found an indecent image of a child on a computer he had given to her.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court today 75-year-old Richard Nichol of Parkdaill, Hawick, was jailed for nine months and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.

Nichol had pled guilty previously to being in possession of indecent photographs of children between January 1, 2011, and January 20 last year. Sentence had been deferred for background reports.

Fiscal Depute, Ann MacNeill, told Sheriff John Beckett QC at the first hearing, that Nichol’s daughter had been given the computer by her father after he bought himself a new one. On checking his computers, the police found a total of 5198 indecent still images. Ms MacNeill said 1066 were at level A, the highest level; 953 at B; and 3179 at C, the lowest level.

At that hearing, defence solicitor, Robert More, told the court that his client was a first offender at the age of 75. He had, said Mr More, made a “comprehensive and candid admission” at the police interview.

Nichol, he added, had served in the Armed Forces for 20 years and then spent another 20 years working for a paint supply company and reaching a managerial position.

Referring to the Social Work Report which had been prepared, Mr More said that the personal circumstances of his client were such that the court could be justified in exercising its discretion and not imposing a custodial sentence. He suggested a Restriction of Liberty Order and Community PaybackOrder under supervision.

He told Sheriff Beckett that approximately half of the Category A images had been computer generated and not real children.

If given a custodial sentence, he said, his client would be extremely vulnerable.

Sheriff Beckett commented that the same could be said of the children in the real images. Such was the seriousness of the crime, he said, there was no alternative to a prison sentence.