Over 1,000 child abuse images found on ‘disturbed’ Lerwick man’s devices

A disturbed pervert searched unrelentingly for images of children who had been kidnapped, tied up and sexually abused, a court heard.

Henry Hunter, 34, admitted possessing indecent photos of children at Lerwick Sheriff Court today (Wednesday).

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie told the court more than 1,200 of the most serious “category A” images had been found on Hunter’s mobile phone and computer.

Mr MacKenzie said it was clear Hunter, of Hoofields, Lerwick, had a “particular predisposition for children who had been tied up”.

The court heard he used search terms such as “kidnapped little girl”.

Images found on his devices featured children aged between two and 16, many of them bound and gagged with materials such as ropes, chains or dog collars.

The children were forced to have sex with adults or each other, the court was told.

Mr MacKenzie said Hunter’s search history revealed a “disturbed mind”. He was searching the internet with “unrelenting regularity” for material to satisfy his “particular proclivities”.

He said the images he searched for involved “sadistic, sexual material of young children who had been kidnapped, bound and gagged”.

Hunter’s chat room comments also showed “extensive participation” in what Mr MacKenzie described as “seriously deviant conversations”.

When asked in one chatroom what would make the “perfect picture” Hunter responded it would be a girl who had been “hog-tied”.

Mr MacKenzie told the court Hunter had been arrested after police, acting on intelligence he had child sex abuse material, obtained a warrant to search his Lerwick flat on 27th July last year.

Officers seized three of his devices – a mobile phone, computer tower and external hard drive. Initial searches uncovered a “significant number” of images.

Hunter was arrested and interviewed by police and made a full admission.

He told officers how he had downloaded images from a number of websites, mostly registered in foreign countries.

Mr MacKenzie said Hunter admitted to police his behaviour had been going on for a number of years and had “spiralled out of control”.

Hunter admitted masturbating when viewing the material.

A full forensic search of his devices uncovered even more images, some of which were “particularly concerning”, and dated back as far as June 2005.

He visited one website, notorious among those investigating child pornography crimes, more than 5,000 times on his mobile phone alone.

Most visits were carried out between April and July last year but it appeared he had been accessing it since 2015.

Searches continued right up until when the police search warrant was executed.

As well as illegal images, police also found more than 4,000 “borderline” images and more than 5,000 animated drawings described as “photo realistic” which depicted children engaging in “various forms of sexual activity”.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Hunter had co-operated with police from the start and was “very much aware of the seriousness of these offences”.

Mr Allan said there were “issues that will need to be explored with his doctor in regard to his mental health”.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank adjourned the case until 16th March for the preparation of criminal justice social worker reports and a restriction of liberty assessment.

Hunter has been subjected to sex offender notification requirements for a length of time to be determined at sentencing.

Sheriff Cruickshank granted an application to forfeit his devices.

Bail has been continued.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.