Dumbarton animal shelter boss caught with child abuse images dodges jail.
Adam Downs – who claimed he was acting as a “vigilante” when he was caught with 500 indecent images of children – has managed to avoid going to jail.
Adam Downs was caught with over 500 images in his home.
An animal shelter boss who claimed he was acting as a “vigilante” when he was caught with 500 indecent images of children has dodged jail.
Adam Downs was back in the dock at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week for sentencing after previously admitting obtaining the sickening photos of children – some of which were of the most extreme category.
He also pleaded guilty to having the images in his possession between March 29, 2005 and June 13, 2016.
Downs – who lost his high profile Scottish SPCA job caring for abandoned and neglected animals when he was arrested last year – was told a custodial sentence was an option for the offence.
However, he managed to avoid a prison sentence and was instead placed under supervision for three years and ordered to carry out unpaid work.
He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for three years.
The 32-year-old previously claimed he had the images as he had been going through a “vigilante phase” in an effort to track down the child abusers of a woman he knew.
But the images he had been looking at described children of different nationalities and couldn’t have referred to the woman he mentioned, the court was told.
His lawyer, Douglas Thomson – who described Downs as a “family man” – could not back up his cover story.
He said: “It is clear that his reason given to police does not stand so I do not seek to argue that.
“While he had the images in his possession, he did not look at them for some time.
“He is a family man. His partner has stood by him.
“He is in a position where the court has to consider a period of custody.
However, Mr Thomson also argued the number of images in Downs’ possession were far less than other cases presented to the court.
He continued: “What he had in his possession was by comparison a very small number of images and only one moving image.
“I accept that some of the images were of the most extreme level.”
Dumbarton Sheriff Court previously heard officers in the cyber crime unit examined the seized equipment from Downs’ home he shared with his family on the site of the Scottish SPCA rehoming centre in Dumbarton.
Officers found 264 indecent images of children on two discs, as well as a video — all classed as category C.
They found another 254 images on a storage card in a mini camera — 50 of which were of the most serious category.
There were also seven category C images discovered on the phone, but these had been deleted and were no longer accessible to Downs.
Indecent images are categorised by three levels, from A to C, with A being the most serious.
Sheriff Maxwell Hendry ordered Downs to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within six months and called for forfeiture or the discs and camera containing the images.
A review was fixed for October 18.