Scottish ex-football player admits to child sexual assault in Thailand

Photo courtesy of Scotland Police via BBC News

A former footballer confessed to serious sexual assault and the possession of an astonishing number of indecent images of children. The ex-midfielder, who once played for Scottish clubs St Johnstone and Dunfermline Athletic in the 1980s and 90s, will now face the full force of the law.

The Scotsman, 61 year old Ian Heddle, originally from Dunfermline, was initially arrested after over 270,000 indecent photos and videos of children were allegedly discovered in his possession. However, a deeper investigation unveiled an even more heinous crime – the reportedly sexual assault of an eight year old child in Thailand.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Heddle, currently residing in Thailand, was apprehended at Edinburgh Airport in February last year for possessing indecent images. Prosecutor Tracey Brown detailed how Heddle had been linked to uploading child abuse material from a property in Scotland where he stayed during visits from the Far East.

“He was interviewed and spoke freely, admitting to the possession of indecent images of children. He stated that there would be thousands of images and videos on his hard drive, categorised into folders.”

The court was informed that the total haul amounted to 272,936 photos and 4,001 clips.

Initially bailed and ordered to remain in Scotland, Heddle’s depravity was further exposed when three videos of him allegedly abusing a child in Chon Buri, Thailand, were found. Identified by his distinctive wedding ring and the hair on his fingers, the footage showed the assault on the sleeping child in 2019. Heddle reportedly confessed during an interview, verifying himself as the perpetrator.

Additional checks of his phone uncovered further contact offences involving another young female. Despite being on bail, Judge John McCormick has remanded Heddle in custody, emphasising the change in his legal status.

Detective Inspector Adrian Ure of Police Scotland’s national child abuse investigations unit issued a comment.

“We understand how distressing this has been for the girl and her family. We hope that the knowledge of his guilty plea will at least provide some comfort to them. Police Scotland is committed to protecting children and pursued Heddle under legislation safeguarding children worldwide from sexual abuse by British nationals.”

Heddle has also been placed on the sex offenders register and awaits sentencing next month, reported BBC News.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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