A PERVERT distributed sickening images of child abuse on Facebook.
Paul Beattie exchanged illegal pictures on the social networking site, of children as young as eight being forced into sexual activity, after becoming “fascinated” by the horrific imagery.
When police raided his home in October, they found an illegal movie clip on his mobile phone and 72 images, many of which had been deleted, on his computer.
The Washington 31-year-old had set up a Facebook account in the name of Vlad the Impaler – a historical figure said to be the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula – which he used to exchange pictures.
Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court: “He had, in fact, distributed four images by means of a Facebook account.
“He said on Facebook you got certain people who would want to swap emails.
“You would get an email with a list of other people it had been sent to, like a chain letter, and he said he would basically forward it on to whoever was on the list.
“He indicated some of the images he was in possession of had come from others, through emails.”
Beattie told police that a 16-year-old girl he met through Facebook had visited him at his home, where he took photographs of her topless and in underwear. He faced no charges in relation to that meeting.
Beattie, of Lumley Close, Oxclose, admitted distributing, making and possessing indecent photographs of children.
During the sentence hearing, Judge Brian Forster viewed some of the images.
He said: “The images I have been able to view are appalling, images involving sexual exploitation of children.
“The images concern children believed to be as young as eight or 10.”
He sentenced Beattie to 16 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and programme requirements.
Beattie must abide by a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and sign the Sex Offenders’ Register, both for 10 years.
Judge Forster said the images were serious, but the actual numbers of them were low.
“I take the view it in is your interest and the public interest the inevitable sentence of imprisonment is suspended so there can be active work with you, so in future you live a law-abiding life,” he said.
Alec Burns, defending, said Beattie used Facebook because he was “bored and lonely”.
“He had no control over what was sent to him. He didn’t think about it, he sent images on, it was a single click to do so,” he said.
“He accepts, while it would not have been his personal choice of porn, he was fascinated by it. He knew all along it was wrong.
“He did think about going for help. He did not really know who to go to. He was too embarrassed to speak to his GP.
“He is a man who, having realised what he was doing was wrong, would accept any help he is offered.”