The jury in a trial of a man accused of raping young boys has heard how he posted a demeaning picture of an autistic youngster on Facebook.
The boy’s 26-year-old sister told the High Court in Livingston she had logged into the painfully shy youngster’s account because she suspected he was being bullied.
She told the jury that the image had been posted by ‘Rob Hunter’, a name the court has been told was used as an alias by rape accused Robert Gill from Bo’ness, a former ice cream vendor.
She said the photo showed her brother naked on all fours, with his head hanging down and was accompanied by a one-word message: “Funny”.
She said her brother was pictured facing a fireplace in a room with a cream sofa and a black pouffe table with what seemed to be drugs on it – allegedly matching an earlier description of the furniture in Gill’s living room.
Speaking through tears she said the picture was part of an exchange of messages between her 17-year-old brother and Gill.
She said Gill was demanding that her brother came to his flat and the teenager was saying he was feeling ill and was “scared” to come out.
Asked how she reacted, she replied: “I cried hysterically, then I phoned my mum.”
Later that night the family took screen-shots of the messages because they noticed they were being deleted.
She identified the image and the Facebook messages from Crown productions in the case against Gill.
One of the 17 charges against the 41-year-old was withdrawn at the close of the Crown case on Friday.
Judge Lord Glennie formally acquitted Gill of intentionally causing an under age boy to look at a sexual image he allegedly sent by text message between September and December 2014.
Gill changed his plea to guilty to four offences, including taking an indecent photograph of the autistic youth at his home in Stewart Avenue, Bo’ness at the beginning of 2015 and distributing it via Facebook.
In addition Gill pled guilty to producing cannabis at his home on February 5, 2015 and being concerned in supplying the Class B drug to four teenage boys over a five-year period from January 1, 2010 to February 1, 2015.
Sentence was deferred until the end of his trial by jury on the remaining 12 charges involving boys between the ages of 13 and 15.
They include two allegations of rape, four of lewd and libidinous behaviour, four of indecent or sexual assault and two involving taking or possessing indecent images of children.
The trial is due to resume on Tuesday.