A SICK man who pored over pictures of girls as young as five being abused by adults deepened his deviancy by superimposing images of himself onto them.
William Shovlin secretly trawled the internet for extreme child exploitation material for more than a year by using a private connection method to conceal his searches.
The 45-year-old pervert from the Port is now beginning a year-long prison sentence after his sordid activities finally came to light and cybercrime police swooped on his home.
Sheriff Derek Hamilton — who ruled that Shovlin must remain on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years — declared that the deviant had shown no remorse for his offending.
Shovlin hoarded nearly 700 indecent images and videos of underage girls on a laptop in his bedroom, some of which were category A material — the worst form of child pornography.
Greenock Sheriff Court heard how he was caught with a total of 582 still images and 95 films when police raided the house in the Woodhall area of the Port in May last year.
Prosecutor Emma Jeffrey said: “Some of the stills had images of the accused superimposed onto them.”
Descriptions of the material, which had to be narrated by the fiscal depute for court purposes, are too grotesque and disturbing to publish.
Miss Jeffrey said: “Police attended the accused’s home with a search warrant.
“He stated, ‘Does it have anything to do with the other day when I tried to access the internet and it wouldn’t allow me on as a message said something like they had received traffic that goes against policy?’
“A witness from the cybercrime unit conducted a preview examination [of the laptop] and confirmed that there were indecent images of children.”
An investigation showed Shovlin had used a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to disguise himself online.
A VPN gives increased privacy because a user’s initial Internet Protocol (IP) address is replaced with one from the VPN provider, so someone living in Inverclyde could appear to live in New York.
He accessed and downloaded his pile of child pornography between March 2017 and April last year before being caught.
Of his 582 still images, 580 were category C and two were category B, whilst four videos were category A, 43 category B and 48 category C.
Shovlin made no comment when he was cautioned and charged at Greenock police office.
His lawyer, Keith Tuck, said that a ‘detailed’ background report indicated a ‘troubled gentleman’.
Mr Tuck told the court: “Clearly it is a very serious matter and Mr Shovlin readily accepts that.
“He has struggled to understand his offending and there is no getting away from that.”
The solicitor added that Shovlin had been working with an organisation called ‘Stop It Now’ since his arrest and he urged Sheriff Hamilton to consider a community-based sentence.
But the sheriff said: “I am satisfied that there is no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence.”
He noted that ‘every image has a victim’ and told Shovlin: “You are effectively a first offender, but there is a significant number of moving images, some of which are category A material.
“I have been given descriptions of some of those images.
“Clearly you are someone who knew what he was doing.”
Sheriff Hamilton added: “I have taken into account the nature of the images.
“An aggravating factor is that the offence was carried out over a fairly lengthy period.
“It seems to me that you have a lack of remorse and not just a lack of understanding.
“Your interview with the criminal justice social work department indicates that you have not learned much from the [Stop It Now] programme.”
Shovlin was told that he would have been jailed for 18 months were it not for his guilty plea.