June 2009

Computer expert jailed after discovery of child porn images

A COMPUTER expert who was caught with more than 90,000 child pornography images was jailed for nearly five years yesterday.

Andrew Langan, 39 – who designed systems for some of the world’s biggest companies including Disney, the US military and F1 teams – also indecently assaulted a young girl and secretly filmed her.

Jailing Langan for 56 months at Ayr Sheriff Court, Sheriff Colin Miller told him: “This is one of the most vile cases I have ever come across in a fairly long career on the bench.

The internet expert, who worked for Compaq, filmed himself naked and spliced the images with shots of his victim. He also morphed the girl’s face on to the bodies of other naked children.

After the verdict, one former colleague said: “Everyone was shocked when this came out. Langan was involved in designing super-computers for F1 teams, the US military and the GCHQ British intelligence department. No-one ever imagined he would become involved in such filth.

“The ironic thing is that he even designed systems for Disney. As a parent, I am really pleased the sheriff decided to throw the book at him.”

Defending, solicitor Peter Lockhart said that after leaving the computer business, Langan set himself up as a property developer.

But when that company ran into difficulties he began to drink, and that is when he committed the offences.

Mr Lockhart said: “He really was at a very low ebb. His marriage had broken up. His highly successful career had come to an end and he was in decline.”

Langan’s activities would have gone undetected had it not been for the mother of one of his victims. He gave her a number of CD rom discs, which he thought were blank.

But the woman was horrified to find that one of the discs contained covert footage of her daughter undressing.

She contacted the police who then raided Langan’s home in Prestwick, taking away a large amount of computer equipment and discs. Analysis by experts uncovered 89,894 indecent images of children aged between 12 and 16.

Depute Fiscal Erin Campbell told the court in an earlier hearing: “These were a combination of still and moving images.” 

Miss Campbell said that further examination revealed 1,200 more indecent images including one film of Langan carrying out the sex assault on the girl.

Langan admitted that between 29 April, 2002, and 3 June, 2008, at addresses in Alloway and Prestwick, he took or permitted to be taken or made indecent photographs of children. 

He also admitted that at his home he indecently assaulted a teenage girl. 

Mr Lockhart said that Langan was a keen photographer and had a studio in his home. The girl had asked Langan to take pictures of her for her page on Bebo, the social networking site. But as she got undressed to get changed for the photo shoots, he secretly filmed her.

Sheriff Miller described Langan’s exploitation and abuse of the schoolgirl as a “gross breach of trust”.

He said that accessing child pornography was not a “victimless” crime, adding: “This is taking part in the abuse of a child.

“People like you who view these encourage other people to make these images for the gratification of yourself and other perverts like you.”

After Sheriff Miller jailed Langan for four years and eight months, the girl’s mother said: “I’m relieved and glad that the sheriff gave him what he did.

“I thought he might be remitted to the High Court for sentence, but then he might have ended up getting less. So I am satisfied the sheriff did a good job.”