Tayside and Central Scotland

Youth worker swapped abuse images

Matthew Lynch Image copyright Alan Richardson
Image caption Matthew Lynch was placed on the sex offenders register

A youth worker caught swapping child abuse images online has been given a community sentence.

A court was told Matthew Lynch also discussed the sexual abuse of a child by another male in online chats.

Lynch, from Edinburgh, told police: "I've never done anything - I work with children," when officers raided his Dundee home.

The 24-year-old was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and will be placed under supervision for 30 months.

He was also ordered to take part in a sex offenders rehabilitation programme and placed on the sex offenders register for 30 months.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told that in one online conversation, a paedophile told Lynch he could have watched him with a "zero" - a codeword for a young child he was abusing - if he had been online.

Lynch asked the man if he had abused the child to which he replied: "I would have been tempted if you would have been watching."

'Graphic and horrific'

Depute fiscal Saima Rasheed told the court: "The accused then wrote 'looks tasty' and asked how the man had abused the child.

"When he was told what had occurred he replied 'wow'."

Lynch's computers were examined and six indecent images were recovered from Skype.

Miss Rasheed said: "They depict boys aged between three and six.

"Skype chat conversation logs were also found.

"They discuss sexual abuse of a child by another male."

Lynch pleaded guilty to charges of downloading child abuse images between 17 March and 17 November last year and distributing them at an address in Dundee.

Defence solicitor Billy Rennie said his client lived "an isolated lifestyle and developed somewhat secretive relationships."

He said: "That's how this ultimately led to the offences in questions.

"In these discussions online he was to some extent let into a discussion about these images.

"This was with an individual he'd never met and whose name he didn't even know.

"They were fairly graphic and horrific images."

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael said: "These are serious offences but in the circumstances I think I can deal with it by a community payback order."

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