December 2009

Private school gardener jailed over child sex abuse

John Gallagher lured a girl to his shed before carrying out horrific sex act, and was caught with stash of child porn.

A private school gardener who sexually abused a child in the school grounds and collected horrific child porn was given an extended sentence of almost six years on Monday.

Glenalmond College groundsman John Gallagher lured a nine-year-old girl – not a pupil at the school – to his works shed to abuse her and had a large stash of pictures and video clips of children being abused.

Gallagher was jailed for two years and eight months, and had a further three year extended supervision period added to his sentence upon his release from prison.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told Gallagher the extended period was necessary to ensure the public – and particularly children – were adequately protected from him.

Perth Sheriff Court was told that Gallagher had videos of children being abused by both men and women and he was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period.

The court heard how Gallagher had been working at Glenalmond College for several years when he carried out a serious sex attack on the girl within the school grounds.

The 41-year-old later confessed to the police that it was his fantasy to have sex with under-age girls.

However, the court was told that Gallagher had also been secretly using his mobile phone camera to take pictures of female pupils at the prestigious Perthshire school.

Gallagher was also caught with hundreds of child porn images and more than 100 video clips – lasting over two hours – which had been downloaded from the internet.

During a police interview, Gallagher said: “I sexually assaulted a little girl today and it is kind of hard to accept.” He told officers they would find indecent images of children on his computer at home.

Gallagher, of St Catherine’s Square, Perth, admitted using lewd and libidinous conduct on a nine-year-old girl in The Gardeners Shed at Glenalmond College on 16 June this year. He also admitted possessing child pornography at his former home, Chapelhill Farm Cottage, Logiealmond, Perthshire, on 17 June.

The school’s Warden, Gordon Woods, said: “Mr Gallagher was employed as a groundsman at Glenalmond College. He had been checked through Disclosure Scotland at an enhanced level.

“All checks were current and up-to-date. Because of the seriousness of the allegations he was immediately suspended from his post and prohibited from entering the college grounds. He subsequently resigned his post.”