OAP sent obscene photo of child to man she met online

A pensioner who took an indecent photo of a young child and sent it to a man she met online has been jailed.

Muriel Melville, aged 73, from Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland, shared the image with Michael Leith, aged 48, during an exchange of messages.

Leith, from Cumbria, was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty last month to inciting Melville to do so.

Yesterday, at the High Court in Edinburgh, Melville was given an extended sentence of four years and four months after earlier admitting sexually assaulting the child.

The pensioner wept in the dock as Judge Neil Brailsford said two years and four months were to be spent in custody.

She pleaded guilty last month to removing the girl’s lower clothing and taking the photo.

Speaking after sentencing, Det InspJune Peebles, who led the police investigation, said: “Michael Leith and Muriel Melville clearly had a very warped relationship which was mainly conducted online.

“Melville, an elderly female, was considered to be a trusted upstanding member of the public, however this investigation very quickly identified that she had chosen to abuse her position of trust to feed her own and Leith’s sexual gratification.”

The online chat and the distribution of the images was key evidence analysed by Police Scotland’s East Cyber Crime Hub.

Det Insp Brian Stuart heads up the specialist unit, and said: “For a female to be the main offender in a child sexual abuse inquiry is extremely rare, but this case demonstrates it does happen.

“Encouraged by Leith, Melville exploited a defenceless child and then shared the abuse online.”

The lawyer submitted that a social work report suggested that Melville was “groomed” by her co-accused.

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