Twisted kid porn of­fender is jailed

Three-year sen­tence af­ter flee­ing coun­try

Wishaw Press - - SAY IT WITH FLOWERS - Mike Mc­quaid

A sex of­fender who fled to Ire­land while await­ing sen­tence has been jailed for three years.

Keith Ross, who once en­ter­tained chil­dren with his col­lec­tion of ex­otic an­i­mals, was caught with more than 1,600 in­de­cent images of young­sters.

Ross, of Hig h f i e l d Cres­cent, Mother­well, also ad­mit­ted pos­sess­ing 3,029 images de­pict­ing “ex­treme pornog­ra­phy” in­volv­ing hu­mans and an­i­mals.

The 28-year-old pleaded guilty at Hamil­ton Sher­iff Court in May, but failed to re­turn to court for sen­tence in June and was later found in Ire­land.

De­fence agent Bobby Reid said Ross fled the coun­try af­ter threats were made when his of­fend­ing was re­ported in the me­dia.

The so­lic­i­tor stated: “It was as a re­sult of bad press. He re­ceived threats and his home and car were van­dalised.

“He felt it was un­safe to re­main there. Dur­ing this pe­riod he was in con­tact with my of­fice and was ad­vised to re­turn. He handed him­self in.”

Last year Ross was jailed for 18 months at the same court when he ad­mit­ted ne­glect charges re­lat­ing to ex­otic pets. He had a col­lec­tion which in­cluded snakes, scor­pi­ons, tur­tles and lizards.

The lat­est of­fences came to light in April last year.

Mr Reid said Ross was re­leased from prison just be­fore Christ­mas af­ter serv­ing his sen­tence for the an­i­mal ne­glect charges.

He added: “All I can say for his ben­e­fit in this case is he pleaded guilty at an early stage.

“The ma­jor­ity of the images were viewed years be­fore the po­lice searched his home.

“He ac­cepted he had an is­sue and took steps to ad­dress it in or­der to pre­vent fur­ther of­fend­ing.”

Jail­ing Ross, Sher­iff Marie Smart pointed out that a “con­sid­er­able” num­ber of the images in­volv­ing chil­dren were rated by in­ves­ti­ga­tors as be­ing in the most se­ri­ous cat­e­gory.

She re­duced the sen­tence from four years in view of his guilty plea “at the first op­por­tu­nity”.

The sher­iff also put him on the sex of­fend­ers’ reg­is­ter for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod.

In 2014 Ross talked of how he’d set up Keith’s Rep­tile Par­ties, buy­ing pets from shops through­out the UK and train­ing them be­fore putting on shows.

He said he en­joyed work­ing with chil­dren who were not so squea­mish as adults when it came to hold­ing the ex­otic crea­tures.

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