A JAZZ singer who repeatedly “sexted” a 13-year-old girl before he was caught with a large stash of child porn on his computer has been jailed for two and a half years.
Craig McMurdo, 49, bombarded the teenager with explicit text messages containing naked images of himself and other males performing sex acts on themselves.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how he forced his victim to send him photographs of herself performing a sex act.
McMurdo – who has been on stage to entertain people such as Prince Charles and Hollywood actor Paul Newman – was found out after the girl’s mother discovered what was going on.
The horrified woman contacted police who arrested the former BBC radio show host at his home in Midlothian.
Detectives then discovered that he was storing a number of child abuse images on computers that he owned.
Yesterday, Sheriff Gordon Liddle sentenced McMurdo to 30 months in jail. He also ordered that he be supervised by the authorities for another 30 months following his release from custody.
Sheriff Liddle said that McMurdo posed potentially “serious” harm to public safety.
He added: “Nothing other than a custodial disposal is appropriate in this particular case.”
His sentencing follows the conclusion of an eight-day long trial last month. Sentence had been deferred until yesterday for the court to obtain reports about his character. McMurdo, of Gorebridge, Midlothian, had denied committing any crimes, claiming he thought his young victim was a “very physically mature looking” woman of 19.
The court heard how McMurdo targeted the girl between December 2011 and August 2012.
He initially made contract with the teenager through a dating website. McMurdo then started exchanging messages with her through Facebook and their mobile phones
The court heard how these messages contained photos displaying sex acts. He also got the young woman to send him images of her naked and performing sex acts.
During the case, McMurdo gave evidence in which he claimed he thought the girl was 19 because that was the age she had on her Facebook profile.
He told defence solicitor advocate John Keenan that he entered into a “sexting” relationship with the young woman in which they indulged in “naughty schoolgirl” fantasies. He said: “It was very convenient. I was under a lot of stress at work.”
McMurdo also told his lawyer that the young girl was a willing participant in the communications and had also sent him sexually explicit messages.
He added: “She was a very well-developed girl, a very physically mature girl. It was a fantasy cyber encounter. It was sexting.”
McMurdo also told the court that if he had known she was 13, he would not have been in contact with her. Saying that his actions were not the ones of a predatory sex offender, he added: “It’s suicidal. It’s madness. It’s just madness. It’s like putting a shotgun into your mouth.”
McMurdo also told the court that his career as a jazz singer had been “completely destroyed” as a consequence of being arrested by officers.
McMurdo also told the jury that a number of people had the ability to access the computer and that they could have downloaded the child porn.
However, a jury rejected his claims and decided that he was guilty of criminal behaviour.
Defence solicitor advocate John Keenan told the court that his client had a problem with internet pornography and had spent 17 months receiving psychological help.
However, Sheriff Liddle said he had to send McMurdo – who has also been placed on the sex offenders’ register – to prison.