A PERVERT who shared a child abuse video while part of a WhatsApp group has been forced to flee his home after receiving death threats.

Brian Harding is currently living in homeless accommodation after he had to leave his family home in Tranent due to serious threats to harm him and his wife.

Harding, 53, was caught downloading disturbing images from an online paedophile group to his computer which featured children being made to pose in an erotic manner.

He was also sent and then reposted a Category A movie showing a young girl being sexually abused for others in the group to view.

Yesterday (Thursday), Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that his life was now in ruins as he had now split from his wife, his adult children were refusing to speak to him and he had been sacked from his job.

Harding was caught out when police officers raided his former home at James Ross Place in Tranent and seized computer equipment in March last year.

He was not at home but was later traced to his employment at an Edinburgh builder’s merchants and arrested.

Harding admitted possessing and sharing the indecent images of children at a court hearing last month and he returned to the dock for sentencing yesterday.

Sheriff John Mundy acknowledged that there was “a low number of images” involved and placed Harding on a supervision requirement for two years. He has been placed on the sex offenders' register for the same length of time.

During yesterday’s hearing, lawyer Leslie Cunningham said that her client had moved into homeless accommodation due to “a significant deterioration” in the relationship with his wife.

Ms Cunningham said: “There has been a significant backlash in the local community in East Lothian.

“Mr Harding and his wife have been receiving death threats and unfortunately Mr Harding had to vacate his property.

"Police are aware of the threats he has been receiving.

“In addition, Mr Harding has lost his employment as a result of a [press] article that was published and his marriage his now broken down and his adult children have reduced contact with him.”

Ms Cunningham added that Harding admitted to becoming addicted to online pornography while his wife had been unwell and had joined various WhatsApp groups containing up to 40 members who were unknown to him.

Previously, the court heard that cyber crime officers with Police Scotland received intelligence child abuse images had been downloaded at Harding’s address in February last year.

Fiscal depute Jade Doig said that Harding admitted during a police interview that he “was a member of a couple of WhatsApp groups” and had been sent images he had “deleted straight away due to their content”.

The fiscal said that Harding had been sent four category C images showing girls aged eight to 11 posing in an erotic manner.

He was also sent two videos from another member of the online group showing children being sexually abused which were subsequently found on his mobile phone.

Harding, a first offender, then reposted one of the movies for others to view within the online WhatsApp group.

Harding admitted charges of possessing and making indecent photographs or videos of children at his home address between October 28, 2018, and March 26 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to distributing indecent photographs or videos of children at the same address on February 23 last year.