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Pharmacist struck off over ‘extreme’ child pornography and bestiality images

Russell Buglass was convicted on charges including possessing hundreds of indecent images of children in the most serious category, a fitness-to-practise (FtP) committee heard last week.

A pharmacist has been struck off the register after he was convicted of possessing “a very large number” of indecent images and videos of children and “bestiality”, a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) FtP committee determined at a hearing last week (May 9).

Russell Buglass, registration number 2044193, was sentenced to two years imprisonment in August for a number of offences, including possessing “prohibited images”, “extreme pornographic” images and “indecent images of children”, according to the hearing document.

Buglass was also convicted of taking “indecent images” of children, the committee heard.

Read more: Pharmacy technician convicted after ‘paedophile hunter’ sting struck off

In addition to his prison sentence, which he is currently serving, Buglass must register with police for 10 years upon release and is subject to a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, the document said.

Buglass did not participate in the hearing, stating in earlier correspondence that he would “prefer not to be present at the remote hearing”, nor was he represented, it added. 

Read more: GPhC: Just 8% of sexual misconduct allegations referred for FtP hearing

The committee noted that he had displayed “some level of insight” into his behaviour by pleading guilty “at the first opportunity” and cooperating with the police’s investigation.

But the regulator stressed that he had been convicted of a “serious sexual offence” involving “young children” over the course of thirteen years and that there was “insufficient evidence of remediation”.


Thousands of indecent images


The committee heard that Buglass had been found in possession of “a very large number of indecent images of children”, which had time stamps from March 2009 through to January 2022.

A police raid on Buglass’s house in January 2022 recovered devices including a mobile telephone, a laptop, a hard drive and disk drives that contained tens of thousands of still and moving images of children, according to the FtP hearing document.

Read more: Pharmacy technician found with ‘indecent images of children’ struck off

The police found:

  • 311 images and 12 videos classified as category A (the most serious)
  • 553 images and two videos in category B
  • 40,621 images and 47 videos in category C
  • 4,299 images and six videos classified as “prohibited”
  • 910 images and 115 videos classified as “extreme pornography”

Among the images were one or more “portraying an act of intercourse/oral sex with a dead/alive animal”, the committee heard.

Buglass was convicted in May 2023 at Newcastle Upon Tyne Crown Court following a guilty plea and was sentenced in August, the document said.


“More than happy to be removed”


The committee heard that Buglass had “previous good character” and that he had endured a “long and protracted police investigation”.

It conceded that Buglass’s conduct was “potentially remediable” and flagged that he had responded to its pre-hearing questionnaire to say that he was “more than happy to be removed from the register”.

But the committee felt that Buglass poses “a real risk to patients and members of the public” and that there is a risk that he might repeat his “abhorrent” actions, the document said.

Read more: Locum handed three-month suspension for showing colleague picture of penis

It found that whatever insight Buglass had shown was “limited” and that he seemed “more concerned” with the effect that his conviction had upon him than the effect of his actions on others. 

The committee noted that there was no evidence that Buglass saw that the “true victims” in this case “were the children whose sexual abuse was recorded on the images he used to satisfy his sexual predilections”.

The long period and massive volume of Buglass’s offending was also considered by the committee.


“Demands the ultimate sanction”


The regulator determined that Buglass should have his name removed from the register and that he should be subject to interim suspension orders, as he is “due to be released from prison on August 21 2024 at the latest”.

It said that the case “involves such extreme indecent images of children that the imposition of a suspension order, even for the maximum duration of one year, would undermine public confidence in the regulatory process as well as in the profession”.

Read more: Sex crimes in pharmacies soar 55%

“The seriousness of the registrant’s convictions, which are fundamentally incompatible with registration as a pharmacist, demands the ultimate sanction of a striking off order,” it concluded.

Read the determination in full here.

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