Stenhousemuir man pleads guilty to downloading 11,000 pornographic images of young girls

Stephen Dow pled guilty at Falkirk Sheriff Court today
Stephen Dow pled guilty at Falkirk Sheriff Court today

A man who downloaded nearly 11,000 pornographic images of young girls was caught after the software he used to delete them failed.

Police seized Stephen Dow’s computer after a tip-off led them to his Stenhousemuir home and the hard drive was forensically analysed, Falkirk Sheriff Court was told.

Solicitor Willie McIntyre

There’s no excuse for doing this sort of thing, and he knows it

More than 4700 images of young girls were found in the recycle bin and a further 6050 images had been deleted from the system’s downloads folder, and could no longer be viewed by the user, but were recovered by the special police software.

Prosecutor Alison Montgomery said that the pictures were of girls aged seven to 14.

Over 99 per cent of them were graded as “level one”, the least serious, on a standard scale of depravity. Images at this level show children posing erotically, with no sexual activity taking place.

The computer was seized on June 3, 2014.

Dow, 43, a forklift truck driver, of Muir Street, Stenhousemuir, married with no children, pleaded guilty to downloading child porn.

Solicitor Willie McIntyre, defending, said: “There’s no excuse for doing this sort of thing, and he knows it.

“According to my expert, the downloading took place between January 10 and February 15, and the images were last accessed on February 25. The police raid was on June 3.

“Mr Dow was in a state of some stress at the time.

“His position is that although it was a month or so, he realised it was not the thing to do.

“He took steps to delete the images, but the software he was using to delete them was not successful.

“Some of the images seemed to be deleted, and as far as he was concerned they were away, and they were only recovered by the police forensic software.

“The other files were not deleted because the software said they could not be deleted, so they were put in the recycle bin, and there they remained.

“He is totally ashamed, and he is concerned about the effect the publicity surrounding the case will have on his employment.

“He works in a large warehouse, and as soon as this hits the papers he is going to have difficulty continuing.”

Sheriff Craig Caldwell deferred sentence until June 18 for social background reports, and released Dow on bail.

He ordered that his name should be placed on the sex offenders’ register.