Eight members of paedophile ring found guilty of child porn and sex charges

The groundbreaking court case uncovered Scotland’s biggest paedophile network and revealed the shocking crimes of a “spider’s web of apparently respectable men”.


It emerged during the case that the ringleaders Neil Strachan and James Rennie befriended the families of the children they abused.

Rennie, 38, was the chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, a group dedicated to helping young lesbian and homosexual deal with their sexuality.

Strachan, 41, a paint firm engineer who was previously jailed for molesting a young boy, was the former secretary of a Celtic boys club and a campaigner on homosexual issues.

The court was told that he was “polluted by deviant compulsion”. Dorothy Bain QC, prosecuting, said: “In reality he is someone who allowed his profound interest in the sexual abuse of children to engulf his entire life.”

Some of the evidence the jurors sat through was so disturbing that consideration was given to offering them counselling at the end of the case.

Rennie circulated photographs of his abuse of a small boy, allowed Strachan to join him in the assault, and offered the child to other paedophiles.

The family of his victim – described in court as Child F – said after the verdicts were announced that their life had been “turned upside down”.

They added: “For over 15 years James Rennie seemed the closest of family friends and it is hard to put into words the extent of the betrayal he has exacted upon us, as many of the details may identify our family and son.

“To subsequently learn that he abused our son, and invited others to do the same, has been devastating. As a family we have had to learn to live, and cope with, the effect these horrific events have had.”

The mother of an 18-month-old boy abused by Strachan said she would never be able to forgive him for the “sick” attacks on her son.

She added: “The anguish I feel towards Mr Strachan is indescribable. I feel that no matter what punishment given to Mr Strachan it will never be able to compensate for the hurt, devastation and great deal of stress brought to me and my family.

“Mr Strachan used and abused our trust in order to satisfy his and others’ sick needs.”

In a legal first in a Scottish court, five of the men were convicted of a charge of conspiring to commit sex offences against children.

The group was caught after an international investigation called Operation Algebra was launched in response to the discovery of photographs on the computer of one of the men.

More than 125,000 images were seized in the inquiry and officers discovered links with paedophiles in the US and the Netherlands.

Strachan, Rennie, Ross Webber, 27, a bank worker from North Berwick, Craig Boath, 24, an insurance claims adjuster, and John Milligan, 40, a civil servant from Glasgow, were found guilty of plotting to turn their fantasies into reality by arranging access to children to carry out acts of sexual abuse.

The same five were also found guilty, along with Colin Slaven, 23, an IT worker from Edinburgh, John Murphy, 44, a receptionist in a sauna in Glasgow, and Neil Campbell, 46, a cake firm manager from Glasgow, of charges relating to child pornography.

The offences were committed in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and East Lothian between February 2004 to May 2008.

They will be sentenced later.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

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