Edinburgh charity boss blamed hackers for child porn on PC

A charity boss who claimed hackers downloaded child abuse images to his computer has been jailed.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL

William Wood downloaded more than 100 indecent pictures to three computer devices at his home in Edinburgh.

Wood - who ran African children’s charity The Dignity Project with wife Barbara - told a court unknown hackers had put the images of children as young as four-years-old on his computer in a bid to discredit him.

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He also said his online security system had then deleted the pictures from his computer and he had no knowledge of how the images came to be in his possession.

But he was found to be lying when a jury unanimously found him guilty of two charges of possessing and downloading child abuse pictures following a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.

The 61-year-old is now behind bars after he was sentenced to 14 months in prison by Sheriff Fiona Tait yesterday.

The sheriff also placed the retired IT expert on the sex offenders register for the next ten years.

The court was previously told police officers raided Wood’s home in December 2015 following a tip off and confiscated three pieces of computer equipment.

Forensic expert DC Alan McConnell told the court he found internet search terms including “African pre-teens” and “magic nymphettes” on Wood’s computer.

Barbara Wood, 70, said she and her husband had set up the Dignity Project charity in 1996 and the couple had spent ten years in Africa teaching and helping under-privileged children. She denied any knowledge of the indecent images and added the charity she ran with her husband had closed down three years ago due to “ill-health and funding difficulties”.

Wood also gave evidence himself and told the jury The Dignity Project charity had been victim of computer hacking in June 2014 when an abusive comment about JK Rowling appeared on the charity’s Twitter feed.

Wood claimed the images had been downloaded without his knowledge and his own computer security software had then deleted the pictures without him viewing them.

But the jury failed to believe Wood’s story and he was found guilty of possessing indecent images of children at his home in Corstorphine, Edinburgh, on 7 December 2015.