Feeds

Eight Scots convicted of child abuse charges

Broken computer revealed conspiracy

High performance access to file storage

Eight Scottish men have been convicted of various charges relating to child sexual abuse and conspiracy.

The initial investigation began after one of the men took his computer in for repair in April 2007. Staff found images of a naked 11-year-old boy and informed police. Investigations found 7,000 more images on the machine as well as records of chat room and instant messenger conversations with other men about abusing children.

This began the uncovering of a large online conspiracy. Many were trusted members of the community and included an ex-teacher, a babysitter and youth worker and a Church of Scotland elder. They discussed the abuse of children in chat rooms and swapped images. About 125,000 encrypted images were found by police.

The families were unaware of what had happened to their children until they were shown images of the abuse. The horror was compounded because defendant Neil Strachan is HIV positive, and several abused children had to be tested.

The eight convicted were Neil Strachan, 41, James Rennie, 38, Colin Slaven, 23, from Edinburgh, Neil Campbell, 46, John Milligan, 40, and John Murphy, 44 - all from Glasgow - Ross Webber, 27, from North Berwick in East Lothian, and Craig Boath, 24, from Dundee. None were known to the police with the exception of Strachan, who had previous child abuse convictions.

Detective Superintendent Allan Jones of Lothian and Borders Police said it was the largest paedophile network ever broken in Scotland. He thanked the other agencies, companies and experts who had helped with the case.

Jones said: "The internet is an integral part of our daily lives but those who seek to use it for criminal purposes should be warned that it is not as anonymous as they may think. They leave a digital footprint which law enforcement will follow and hold them to account."

A key piece of evidence was a picture of Strachan, described as the 'Hogmanay image', showing him abusing an 18-month-old baby. The child's father declined to see the image when contacted by police, the BBC reports. Strachan and Rennie took a central role in the abuse and in distributing images and video.

The probe, known as Operation Algebra, is far from over - another 70 names have been passed to other police forces around the world and 35 have already been arrested.

Assistance from Microsoft was also essential in uncovering the true identity of "kplover99" - which stood for kiddie porn lover. This email was tracked back to James Rennie. Police also tracked Wi-Fi signals in Edinburgh.

The eight men will be sentenced next month. The judge is seeking a risk assessment for ringleaders Strachan and Rennie, which could allow him to impose a minimum term of imprisonment for the two - or to imprison them until they are no longer considered a risk. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.