An Aberdeen teacher has been placed on the sex offenders register after being found with 1,700 indecent images of children.
St Machar Academy technical studies teacher Blair Paton admitted possessing disgusting images of girls as young as five and later told police he wasn’t a danger to his pupils.
The 39-year-old’s haul of images was discovered after police received information that he had accessed child abuse pictures on a social media app, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.
Paton, a dad-of-one, downloaded and viewed them between May and July 2020 after installing the Kik messenger to his phone.
The former Bucksburn Academy, Mackie Academy and Meldrum Academy teacher – who also featured in BBC One’s 2005 documentary series Teacher Teacher – was charged and told officers: “I’m so sorry”.
Fiscal depute Carol Gammie said the 1,700 images ranged from Category A, the most serious, to Category C and that Paton had searched for child sex abuse groups on Kik.
She said Police Scotland’s child abuse investigations unit first received information, in July 2021, that an account linked to Paton’s email address had shared child sexual abuse material within a group chat on Kik.
When police went to his then-home, Paton’s wife answered the door before officers searched his phone and laptop.
“The accused’s phone was found to contain 10 indecent images of children,” the fiscal said. “These images featured female children aged approximately five to 12 years of age.
“A full forensic examination of the devices recovered 1,767 inaccessible indecent images of children. 247 were Category A, 786 were Category B and 734 were Category C images. No evidence of distribution was found.”
The court heard that Paton had joined Kik in the summer of 2020 “to meet and chat to people”.
“He stated he had joined some groups and that within these groups other people were sharing pictures and that is how they had got onto his mobile phone,” the fiscal added.
“He stated that in the moment he had found it exciting.
“He admitted to searching for Kik chat groups relating to child abuse in order to view indecent images of children.
“He said he was unsure if he was sexually attracted to children, but thought he must have been at that time.
“He advised that he later decided he did not want to be a part of those groups and deleted his Kik account.
“He stated that he tried to delete all indecent images of children from his devices after deleting Kik.”
‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’
Paton, an Aberdeen University graduate, also told police he “does not find the children he teaches attractive and that he is not a danger to children”.
After being cautioned and charged he told officers: “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry”.
Paton admitted one charge of taking or permitting to be taken or made indecent images or pseudo-images of children at an address in Blackdog, between May 23 and July 21 2020.
Sheriff Ian Wallace deferred sentence on Paton, of Inchgarvie Avenue, Burntisland, for background reports and a restriction of liberty order assessment.
Aberdeen City Council said he is not employed by the local authority.
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