Bellshill man jailed on his 50th birthday after pleading guilty to viewing child abuse images
A Bellshill man who claimed he downloaded child abuse images for research has been jailed - on his 50th birthday.
Douglas Suttie told police officers an ex-partner had been a victim of abuse and he wanted "a better understanding of what she had been through".
Suttie was locked up for eight months and placed on the sex offenders' register for 10 years at Hamilton Sheriff Court.
He admitted downloading more than 1,200 child abuse images at his home in Tollhouse Gardens, Bellshill.
This was between May 2018 and March last year.
Jennifer McCabe, prosecuting, said that while most of the photos were in the least serious category, 34 were rated Category A, the most depraved. She said Suttie's laptop was seized when police officers arrived at his home with a search warrant on March 24 last year.
It was clear from the laptop's search history that he had been scouring websites for material.
Images that he had deleted were found after specialist officers carried out a forensic examination of the device.
Ms McCabe told the court: "During a police interview the accused admitted being on websites he shouldn't have visited.
"He had seen some 'very sickening' images of children being abused.
"He said this was not for sexual gratification but for research.
"The accused also said that he had hoped to find pictures of the person who had abused his ex."
Defence lawyer Urfan Dar said Suttie accepted his conduct was wrong.
Mr Dar stated: "He went completely outwith the realms of his legitimate enquiry.
"The images were viewed and deleted quickly thereafter.
"He is a first offender.
"I submit that a robust community payback order with supervision would be a suitable alternative to a custodial sentence"
The court also heard that Suttie lost his job after pleading guilty to the charge last month.
However, Sheriff Daniel Kelly said: "I consider the threshold has been passed and there is no appropriate alternative to custody."
The sentence was reduced from one year to eight months because of his guilty plea.