A THIRTY four year old man from Lerwick has admitted possessing over 1,000 images of child sexual abuse that he accessed over a 16-year period dating back to his late teens.
Henry Hunter, of the town’s Hoofields, pleaded guilty to taking or permitting to be taken indecent photos of children between 26 June 2005 and 27 July 2021 at an address at Queens Place, Lerwick and elsewhere.
Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday that police executed a search warrant last summer and seized a mobile phone, a computer tower and an external hard drive from Hunter’s home address.
When the devices were examined it emerged that he had downloaded a large volume of images from a number of sites, many foreign-hosted.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said it appeared Hunter had a “particular disposition” for children “who had been tied up”.
The court heard that his online activities started many years ago and had spiralled out of control. Hunter cooperated with police throughout.
Internet search history and online chat forums revealed a “disturbed mind” who was searching for “sadistic sexual material” the fiscal said.
Hunter had visited one particular Russian-hosted website, which the fiscal said regularly cropped up in cases of this nature, over 5,000 times since 2015 on his mobile phone alone.
Some 1,200 “category A” images and 61 “category C” images were accessible on his devices, along with 22 “category A” videos.
In addition there were 4,332 “indicative or borderline” images and 5,080 animated drawings, described as “photorealistic images”.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client had “cooperated fully right from the start” and asked that he retain his liberty until reports are completed.
Sheriff Ian Cruickshank granted the fiscal’s request for the devices to be forfeited and adjourned the matter until 16 March for a criminal justice social work report and a restriction of liberty order to be prepared.
If you have been affected by sexual violence, support is available. Contact The Compass Centre 9am-1.30pm Mon-Thurs on 01595 747 174 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Space2face Shetland is an independent and confidential service which uses Restorative Justice and the arts to bring those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication. We enable everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.
The project is also currently fundraising to secure office space in Shetland’s brand-new creativity and wellness centre, The Mission. If you’re interesting in getting involved, or making a donation, head over to www.space2face.org/how-you-can-help