A VULNERABLE Musselburgh woman who downloaded indecent images of children out of “curiosity” tried to blame her support worker after she had been caught with the pictures.

Chelsea Cockburn, of Stoneybank Terrace, was said to have “panicked” when confronted and told police that she had been forced into the situation by her support worker.

Cockburn claimed to police that the man had threatened to kill her cat if she did not keep quiet about the pictures and that he had told her to hide the USB stick the images were on.

Following the police interview, Cockburn, 24, returned to her home, where she told her grandmother what she had told the police officers.

The grandmother immediately telephoned police to tell them the truth.

Cockburn, who was accompanied by an adult in the dock, had previously admitted two charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and returned to court for sentencing last Friday.

Solicitor Rebecca Weissgerber said her client suffered from autism and social work reports stated it was “very unlikely” she would reoffend.

She said Cockburn “panicked” in the police interview.

The lawyer said that the support worker had suffered “unfortunate consequences” due to the false allegation and that Cockburn had “poor social skills” and had been “isolated”.

She said that Cockburn continued to be under the care of a psychiatrist.

Sheriff Donald Corke told the offender: “I am sure you know you should not have had the photos. I accept it was curiosity and not a deviant interest in children.

“But I have to sentence you according to your difficulties.”

The sheriff noted that Cockburn was not fit to carry out unpaid work in the community and instead sentenced her to a 12-month community payback order consisting of supervision as an alternative to custody.

Cockburn was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for 12 months and was ordered to pay the support worker £600 in compensation.

Sheriff Corke added: “It is not much for what you did but it is to try and teach you not to do it again.”