David Leggatt, 59, had a vast collection of vile child pornography on computer equipment he kept in the loft of his home in Comrie, Fife.
After being caught, he told the police: “I knew this day would come...I didn’t become a foster carer to prey on kids, that’s not why I went into fostering...it was the internet that corrupted me.”
Leggatt, a first offender, admitted raping a girl and attempting to rape a second girl, and making and possessing indecent images of children.
He will be sentenced next month.
The advocate-depute, Gillian Wade, told the High Court in Edinburgh that Fife Constabulary received “confidential and reliable” information in August that someone using the internet connection at Leggatt’s address was heavily involved in the downloading of indecent images of children.
Officers went to the house and were let in by the accused’s wife who shouted for him to join her in the living room. The couple were both cautioned, and Leggatt said: “It’s me. It’s nothing to do with her. I’m sorry.”
Leggatt, a former production manager with a double glazing firm, took the officers upstairs and they entered the loft by a stepladder and seized a desktop computer and a hard drive. They held more than 116,000 photographs and videos, mostly downloaded from the internet but also some which Leggatt had taken himself of three girls. Two had also been the victims of his physical abuse.
During an interview, Leggatt admitted the abuse and stated that he had both photographed and videoed it. Police were also able to identify him in the films by a ring on his finger and scarring to his body.
“He said he had looked at adult pornography on the internet and had accidentallly clicked on indecent images of children...he went on to say he had an interest in little girls...and he had decided to apply to be a foster carer as he wanted to ‘help children,’ “ added Ms Wade.
Inquiries revealed that Leggatt’s wife had told a friend that he spent much of his time in the loft on his computer and that they had not had a sexual relationship for around ten years.
The father of one of the girls was in court and he said: “It has just been an absolute nightmare.”