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Oil supervisor jailed over child porn

New scheme
Edinburgh high court

A woman who sexually assaulted a little boy and used Facebook to send photographs of the abuse to an oil platform supervisor has been jailed for three years and nine months.

The offshore worker was also handed the same prison term after he admitted acting alongside Caroline Greig in abusing the infant. The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Steven McLachlan encouraged Greig “through words to carry out the crime on the youngster who was “very clearly prepubescent.”

Prosecution lawyer Tim Niven-Smith said: “The accused (McLachlan) accepts he was privy to the fact that his encouragement led to Caroline Greig actually perpetrating sexual acts.”

The story emerged last month after Greig,47, and McLachlan,52, both pled guilty to charges of sex assault and possessing and distributing indecent child photographs. Lawyers for the pair asked that they remain at liberty pending sentencing.

But judge Lady Carmichael remanded both offenders’ in custody. On Wednesday, Lady Carmichael told the despicable duo that she had no other option but to send them both to prison.

She told them: “I cannot distinguish between you. You have pleaded guilty to a number of serious offences and the only appropriate disposal in this case is the imposition of a custodial sentence.”

At proceedings last month, the court heard that Greig carried out sex acts on the boy in October last year and photographed them before distributing them through social media.

Offshore shutdown supervisor McLachlan, who was working on the Ninian South platform, told police that he was communicating with her at the time of the abuse and confirmed that she was taking photos of it and sending him pictures via Facebook.

Advocate depute Tim Niven-Smith said McLachlan “stated that they were both equally to blame and they were acting out a sexual fantasy”.

“The accused said that all images were sent via Facebook messenger and he had received the majority of them whilst he was working offshore,” said the prosecutor.

He said: “Caroline Greig has previously enjoyed employment in the oil industry and had made a number of acquaintances from that employment.” “She kept in touch with these acquaintances mainly by social media, in particular Facebook,” he said, adding that as a result of communicating with others she made contact with McLachlan.

The advocate depute said: “A social media based relationship appears to have started between Greig and McLachlan which, although platonic at first, progressed to sexualised chat between them and also sharing images of themselves in varying degrees of undress.”

Police later seized by police and 57 indecent images of the child were found most of which also featured Greig who had abused the boy – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – at a house in the Lothians.

Police made inquiries with a view to identifying McLachlan on suspicion that he had received child images from Greig. It was discovered he was working offshore but was due to return on November 17 last year and the following day officers arrived at his home at Mid Glasslaw, New Pitsligo, in Aberdeenshire, and recovered his mobile phone during a search.

During an urgent examination of the phone sexualised messages between him and Greig were found which referred to the child victim and the existence of indecent photographs.

Mr Niven-Smith said no indecent child images were found on McLachlan’s phone but the tenor of messages meant it could easily be inferred that he had at some point received photos from Greig.

At one point in extracts of messages read to the court Greig had asked: “Are you getting the pics now ?”. McLachlan had referred to her as a “slut” and “bitch” at points during the online conversation.

McLachlan told police that he had “cleaned up” his Facebook messenger and deleted all the images. Mr Niven-Smith said: “During the course of the police interview he indicated that prior to October 2015 and his communications with Caroline Greig he had never before had sexual feelings towards children.

The accused revealed that he was disgusted with himself.” The prosecutor said: “The accused at no time laid his hands upon the child or had any physical contact whatsoever with the child. The accused has never met or had physical contact with Caroline Greig.”

He said it was understood that McLachlan received 40 indecent child images all taken by Greig. On Wednesday, it emerged that Grieg became involved in a relationship with McLachlan in order to boost her self esteem.

McLachlan’s defence counsel Ian Duguid QC told the court that his client’s activities had been “ruinous” for him. He also said that McLachlan appreciated that he was going to be sent to prison. Mr Duguid added:

“He comes from a stable background. He had a good family life. He also has a good work record and has never offended before. “He now finds himself in this court and he appreciates that there will be difficulties for him going forward in life.”

Passing sentence, judge Lady Carmichael told Greig that her offending was “disturbing.” She added: “I accept that you became involved in this relationship because you had low self esteem. However, you shared images of a disturbing nature in order for your co-accused to gain sexual gratification.

“You show little insight into the nature of your offending behaviour and I have little option but to impose a custodial sentence.”

She also placed the two offenders on the Sex Offenders Register for the rest of their lives.

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