October 2018

Disgusting sex offender who fled to Ireland due to “bad press” is jailed

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 Highfield 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.

July 2018

Missing bail jumper traced in Ireland

A Motherwell man who went missing as he awaited sentencing for possessing child porn has been found in Ireland.

Keith Ross admitted possessing 1651 indecent images of children and 3029 images depicting “extreme pornography” involving humans and animals at Hamilton Sheriff Court in May.

He was caught after the dad of a former girlfriend stumbled across disgusting pictures on a phone.

Sheriff Marie Smart put Ross (28) of Highfield Crescent, on the sex offenders’ register, with his sentence deferred for background reports and a risk assessment.

Ross (28) was released on bail and told to return to court on June 22, but he vanished prompting police to issue a missing person appeal.

On June 22 Sheriff Smart issued a warrant for Ross’s arrest when he failed to turn up in court, and was also likely to have been in breach of the sex offenders register requirements by not informing police of his whereabouts.

It is understood his phone was then traced to Ireland and he was found in Dublin on Saturday.

He has since returned to Scotland and was arrested.

May 2018

Children’s party entertainer had huge stash of child abuse and bestiality images

A reptile fanatic who organised children’s parties has admitted hoarding more than 3000 images showing acts of bestiality and images of child sexual abuse

Keith Ross, 28, was caught with the extreme pornographic material after his ex-girlfriend’s father discovered the haul on a mobile phone.

The phone contained a sickening catalogue of 3029 extreme images along with 1651 images of child abuse.

The discovery was made after Ross, of Motherwell, Lanarkshire, had been held by police investigating him for a string of animal cruelty charges.

He was found to be keeping 13 venomous snakes and two scorpions without the appropriate licences.

Ross was jailed for 18 months and handed a 10-year disqualification on keeping animals in June last year.

He has now appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court and admitted possessing indecent images between August 2007 and May 2017.

Depute fiscal Michael Macintosh said: “His partner’s father attended at his address to gather some of his daughter’s belongings and when there observed a silver Samsung on the accused’s bed.

“There were messages on it which appeared to be sexual in nature and his girlfriend’s father activated the device and saw numerous messages between others and saw explicit messages.

“His concern was for his daughter rather than anything else so took hold of the phone to show his daughter what communications had been shared.

“Only on a deeper viewing the images contrary to law came to light.

“There were images of women having sex with dogs and horses and the device was returned and police advised what had been found.

“Police on the basis of the images described to them sought and obtained a search warrant.

“They were allowed entry to the premises by the accused and he was present during a systematic search where a number of items were seized including two mobile phones, a PC tower and a mircoSD memory card.

“There were also evidence of search terms which made it perfectly clear what the images involved.”

Ross ran ‘Keith’s Reptile Parties’ where he charged £80 per hour for attending children’s events with a number of his animals, including the lizards and snakes.

These included a boomslang, western diamondback rattlesnake and various cobras, including a king cobra and spitting cobras.

Ross also had turtles, a polecat, lizards and a hawk at his one-bedroom flat in Motherwell.

Sheriff Marie Smart deferred sentence on Ross until next month for reports and continued his bail