Council worker shared child abuse images 'since early days of internet'

Graham McKerchar catalogued more than 56,000 images of children being abused over a near 25-year period.

Council worker from Stirling shared child abuse images ‘since early days of internet’ Andrew Brookes via Getty Images

A local government worker has been jailed for three years after spending nearly a quarter of a century amassing a library of tens of thousands of items of child porn.

Graham McKerchar collected over 56,000 pornographic photos of children and videos of children being abused.

McKerchar, 48, began downloading child porn in the early days of the internet in January 1998 and carried on until his house near Stirling’s Kings Park was raided by police in September 2021.

Cybercrime investigators found he had been sharing some of the images and videos with other online paedophiles.

McKerchar, of Parkdyke, Stirling, appeared for sentence at Stirling Sheriff Court after pleading guilty in July to distributing and downloading child porn.

Solicitor advocate Ross Yuill, defending, said McKerchar held “a good job” working for a local authority and had no previous convictions.

Appealing for him not to be jailed, he said McKerchar had voluntarily taken an online course from the Stop It Now service, dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, and now understood the damage of his actions.

He added that McKerchar, who appeared in the dock attached to an oxygen machine, had an “unusual health condition” that meant he required continuous oxygen.

Imposing the 36 month jail term, Sheriff Derek Hamilton said McKerchar’s offending had been “serious” and “stretched over 23 years”, and he had downloaded and catalogued over 56,000 images.

Sheriff Hamilton said: “Each photograph represents a serious abuse of the child depicted and those who access this material through the internet bear a responsibility for the abuse by creating a demand.

“Your behaviour was quite deliberate. You downloaded images over a lengthy period and onto various devices.

“Many were videos, and many were classified as at the most extreme level.

“You distributed images of sexual abuse of children to a number of others, and you engaged in conversations which showed you had a sexual interest in children.

“It is very important that the sentences imposed show that society strongly disapproves of such behaviour, and are strong enough to deter others from doing the same thing in the future.”

He said McKerchar had shown “little remorse”.

He said: “I have some difficulty in accepting it was not until you attended that course that you began to realise the trauma the children depicted in the images would have suffered. You are a university graduate holding down a responsible position.”

McKerchar showed no emotion as he was led to the cells.

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