Child sex images pervert is locked up

A pervert who had 120,000 sickening child sexual abuse images on his home computers has been jailed for two years.

John Bell’s hoard included naked pictures of Inverclyde boys, as well as thousands of other images showing minors suffering horrific sexual abuse.

The images involved 45 indecent images involving kids from this area.

The court heard Bell, 52, had made several attempts on his own life while he was remanded in prison after a police swoop on his former home in Greenock’s Pennyfern Road.

Sheriff John Herald told the first offender the nature of the offence meant jail was inevitable.

He said: “I take into account the vast majority of these images were at the lowest end of the scale, but at the highest end there were hundreds.

“I have also looked at the specialist reports done on you and take into account your personal circumstances, but I have no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence.” Defence solicitor Gerry Keenan said his client’s early guilty plea had spared the local boys giving evidence in court.

He added: “It has to be accepted the images are vile, but probably not the worst of this type the court has seen. The highest volume of images was at the lowest end of the scale.

“Prison is not something to which he has adjusted well and he has tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion. He is also a first offender and has expressed concern about the well-being of his mother, who he cares for, as she is in the early stages of dementia.” The court previously heard how evidence of internet conversations between Bell and a Belgian paedophile were recovered by police computer experts on three PCs, alongside 6,325 child porn images. Traces were found of another 113,000 Bell had managed to wipe using specialist software.

Bell had also taken groups of local children on trips to a variety of locations, including Loch Thom, Loch Lomond and Beith Dam, taking pictures of naked local boys swimming, which he stored on a laptop.

Such was the severity of the images recovered by experts, all of boys aged between five and 13, Sheriff John Herald was forced to close a courtroom to view them in private.

Bell pleaded guilty to possession of indecent photographs or pseudo-photos of children between 1 January 2005 and 20 November last year at an address in Pennyfern Road. He also admitted making, taking or permitting to be taken indecent images of children at his home, Loch Thom, Old Largs Road at Whinhill Golf Course, Beith Dam, Loch Lomond, Blackpool and the Time Capsule in Coatbridge between 1 January and 12 September 2008.

A guilty plea was also accepted to using evidence eliminator, window washer and other computer software to delete materials and attempt to defeat the ends of justice.