A council mechanic found with indecent images of children has been spared jail after showing “genuine remorse and regret”.
Erik Stove, 35, who admitted possessing photos and videos at a hearing in December, appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court for sentencing today (Wednesday).
Defence agent Gregor Kelly said Stove, from Sandwick, had become “locked in a prison of addiction” to pornography.
While this began with “conventional” adult pornography, Mr Gregor said Stove was “led down a dark pathway” and began viewing images of children during lockdown.
Mr Gregor said Stove suffered a “spectacular fall from grace”.
However, he noted his client’s “refreshing attitude” in that he had “come back from the abyss”.
Mr Kelly also said Stove was highly thought of by his peers.
Although his wife had left their home when the offences first emerged, she has since returned and wants to “fight for the relationship”.
Stove also chose to do the “decent thing” and tell his workmates. While some “quite rightly confronted him for his abhorrent behaviour” Mr Kelly said many remained supportive.
Mr Kelly said his client was “remorseful, ashamed” and “relieved to have been caught”.
The court heard Stove was devastated to have understood the part he played in child abuse.
While he acknowledged his client could be sent to prison, Mr Kelly urged Sheriff Ian Cruickshank to recognise Stove’s efforts to “rid himself of this addiction”.
“He is anxious to once again become a productive member of the community,” he added.
Sheriff Cruickshank noted that while the offences dated from August 2014 to March last year, there were a relatively small number of images and videos – three still images and 11 videos, eight of which had been deleted.
Although he said it was a “very serious offence”, Sheriff Cruickshank said he had taken into account Stove’s “genuine remorse and regret” as well as the supportive references.
He imposed a community payback order including 18 months supervision and a requirement to carry out 220 hours of community service in the next 12 months.
Stove has also been subjected to sex offender notification requirements for 18 months.