Ian Heddle: former Scottish footballer who played for St Johnstone pleads guilty to child sex offences

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Ian Heddle, an ex-professional footballer, admitted to sexual offences against child in both Scotland and Thailand.

A former professional footballer has pleaded guilty to child sex offences which took place in Scotland and Thailand.

Ian Heddle, 61, previously played for Scottish teams St Johnstone and Dunfermline Athletic throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Heddle, from Dunfermline, was charged after more than 270,000 indecent images of children were found in his possession, and further charged with sexual assault of a child in Thailand following a deeper police investigation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Heddle, who now lives in Thailand, was arrested at Edinburgh Airport in February 2023. He pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow and is due to be sentenced next month.

The court heard that Heddle had viewed and downloaded indecent images of children while staying at a property in Scotland on a visit from Thailand. Prosecutor Tracey Brown said: "He was interviewed and spoke freely. He admitted to the possession of indecent images of children. He stated that there would be thousands of images and videos in his hard drive and that they were categorised into folders.”

Detective Inspector Adrian Ure of National Child Abuse Investigations Unit said: “We understand how distressing this has been for the girl and her family. We hope that the knowledge that he has now pled guilty will at least provide some comfort to them. Police Scotland is committed to protecting children and were able to pursue Heddle under legislation which protects children anywhere in the world from sexual abuse by British nationals.

“We will continue to relentlessly pursue, and proactively investigate, individuals who carry out these heinous crimes. I would also like to reassure our communities that we will investigate all reports of sexual abuse. You will be listened to, and we will support you. I urge anyone who has been the victim of any offence of this nature to contact us on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”