An IT consultant was found to have a massive hidden hoard of more than half a million child pornography pictures after a friend went to tidy up his flat as a favour while he was at his mother’s funeral in Shetland.
And when forensic experts analysed Yeoman Smith’s computers they discovered footage of him carrying out a sex act in front of a five-year-old girl.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard today that a total of 581,649 still images and 1,884 moving indecent images of children were recovered on equipment and discs after a search of Smith’s home.
Advocate depute Gillian More told the court that some of the images featured children who were as young as a few months old.
Self-employed information technology expert Smith, 35, admitted possessing the indecent photos of children at his home in Livingston Place, Edinburgh, on 24th June last year.
He also pleaded guilty to indecent behaviour towards the little girl on 13th August 2009 in Penicuik, Midlothian.
The advocate depute said that in May last year Smith had returned to Shetland for his mother’s funeral and to deal with various matters.
A downstairs neighbour contacted a friend of Smith’s because of concerns over a potential water leak from the unoccupied flat. The friend got a set of keys and went into Smith’s home to turn off the water.
The prosecutor said: “He noticed the flat to be very untidy and on 21st June decided to go to the accused’s flat in advance of his return from Shetland to clean and tidy it for him.”
He found a children’s clothing catalogue beside Smith’s bed and because of its condition feared that Smith might have been using it for sexual gratification.
“He became very uneasy and then remembered the accused showing him a concealed cupboard that was situated in the ceiling of the hall of the property, in which he had seen a bag containing computer discs,” she said.
The friend had suspected it contained adult pornography but decided to check and found his fears were confirmed when he discovered images of young children performing sex acts on adult males.
He later contacted police and handed over discs that had come from Smith’s cache. Police went to the flat with a search warrant and found laptops, discs and other storage media as well as printed indecent images of children.
The advocate depute said that once the computers and other gear was analysed “an extremely large number of still and moving indecent images of children were found”.
Some of the most extreme images showed children being tied up with rope or tape, with girls being struck with whips and acts of bestiality.
Smith was detained in Shetland and interviewed by police officers. The prosecutor said: “He made full admissions of having deliberately obtained from the internet indecent images of children which he had used for his sexual gratification.”
During police analysis of the haul they came across footage of a man, whom they believed to be Smith, in a room with a young girl who had her eyes closed while a sex act was carried out by the male on himself.
Smith was interviewed again and admitted that he was the man in the footage and that it was “a one off incident” of which he was ashamed.
The child and her mother were traced and the woman confirmed that Smith had been a visitor and was alone with the girl for a few minutes.
Defence solicitor advocate Duncan Hughes said that first offender Smith had fully co-operated with the police.
He said Smith had earlier been allowed bail with condition that he had no unsupervised contact with children under 16, did not use the internet and regularly attended at a police station.
Mr Hughes asked Lord Uist to allow Smith to remain at liberty while reports were prepared in his case ahead of sentencing.
But the judge remanded him in custody after telling him: “You have pled guilty to two very serious offences of a sexual nature.”
Lord Uist also placed Smith on the sex offenders’ register and continued the case for background and psychiatric reports.