Fife paedophile Kirk Thompson, who sent racist abuse to ex-Premier League footballer Yannick Bolasie, has been jailed.
After losing a bet, Thompson drunkenly sent then-Middlesbrough star Mr Bolasie the N-word over Instagram messenger.
Police found the message the next day when they raided his Kirkcaldy home for child abuse files.
Mr Bolasie, who now plays in Turkey for Caykur Rizespor, branded his abuser a “keyboard warrior” and a rat.
Thompson, 22, of Ravens Craig, pled guilty to three charges – possession of indecent images of children, permitting to be taken or making indecent images of children, and sending a racist message.
At his sentencing at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, it was revealed he had used an encrypted email service called Proton to have conversations about child abuse with other paedophiles.
A social work report stated there had been hundreds of conversations.
This was disputed by Thompson’s lawyer, although he acknowledged there had been a significant number and mainly with one other individual.
Police had found two category-A videos in his possession – 22 seconds and 52 seconds in length.
Officers also uncovered a pair of category-B videos, each a minute-long.
‘Rat… keyboard warrior’
32-year-old DR Congo international Mr Bolasie was on-loan from Everton when he shared a screenshot of the racial slur sent to him in a direct message in March last year.
Accompanied by a rat emoji, he wrote: “Something seriously wrong with people… keyboard warriors.
“Still yet to meet a person who had this energy when they saw me.”
Sheriff Alastair Brown, sentencing, said: “It’s more than stupid. It’s deeply offensive.
“I have yet to encounter anybody who has admitted to being a racist.
“It may be that part of the reason for this offence was he wasn’t getting out enough.”
He told Thompson: “When it comes to your racist abuse of Mr Bolasie, in terms of culpability, it was deliberate.
“In terms of harm, you were contributing to a toxic trend in the use of electronic means of communication.
“The court is aware that those in any sort of prominent position publicly regularly receive abusive texts and are denigrated online by those whose only qualification to do so is that they are able to switch on a mobile phone.
“The particular word you used is one which (Mr Bolasie) rightly found truly offensive.
“It seems to diminish the individual.
“It should be understood that the court will always take abuse of that sort very seriously.”
‘Significant’ risk of harm
The court heard that after downloading sick images, other perverts recommended the encrypted service to him.
Thompson’s defence solicitor Christine Hagan said: “It seems that he’s come across this material… initially accidentally.
“That hasn’t stopped him then going on to access the material himself.”
She said her client “wasn’t a particularly social individual” who had been made redundant during lockdown.
Sheriff Brown said: “Your conduct was both deliberate and persistent.
“In these cases, the number of images was very small and the duration of the videos was short.
“Nevertheless, what’s described is serious abuse of children… for your personal gratification.
“You do, by viewing material of this sort, help to provide an audience (for those) who take the images and abuse children.
“You were an active member of an online community which was bound together by its shared interest of sexual abuse of children.
“I suppose that the discussion of the subject is not by itself an offence but it is the context that assess harm and that active participation seems to me to have been likely to increase the risk to children generally.
“That context means that I assess the harm in your case to be significant.”
The sheriff jailed Thompson for a year for the child abuse charges.
Sheriff Brown also jailed Thompson for four months for the racial abuse, which will be served concurrently.
Thompson was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for a decade.
After Thompson pled guilty in November, Mr Bolasie tweeted: “This works better when everyone comes together.. make the world a better place and safer place for our children” and linked his comment to a report on Thompson’s conviction.