Eight and a half years sentence for sex abuser

Lanark Sheriff Court
Lanark Sheriff Court

A man who started abusing a girl when she was only a child was jailed for a total of five and a half years on Wednesday.

And Sheriff Robert Dickson imposed a further three year extended sentence, meaning William McCrae will be on licence when he is released.

The eight-and-a-half-year sentence is one of the longest - if not the longest - ever handed down at Lanark Sheriff Court.

“You are a very evil person, and you have caused dreadful misery to a child,” Sheriff Dickson told McCrae, who sat weeping in the dock.

“You grossly abused her for a persistent period.”

And after McCrae had been led down to the cells, the Sheriff told his solicitor: “This is one of the nastiest cases I have dealt with,” comparing the “indifference” shown by McCrae to the misery of the woman giving evidence.

Sentencing McCrae (70) of 8 Skylaw Terrace, Forth, the sheriff made much of the fact that the woman had had to give evidence when the trial took place at the beginning of February,

“The misery you have you put her through in having to give evidence will have stayed in the minds of everybody who was in the court.”

He said the jury had found it embarrassing; he had found it embarrassing; and it had been a very humiliating experience for her.

“You made her life a total misery and you have affected her in a way which it is doubtful she will ever recover from, having to recount what had happened.” said the sheriff.

The trial lasted six days, and the jury, by a majority, found McCrae guilty of sexual offences against the girl from a young age right up into her teens in the 1970s and 1980s.

Sheriff Dickson imposed a sentence of 40 months in prison for the earlier incidents and 14 months for the incidents which had happened once the girl was in her teens.

McCrae pleaded guilty to what the sheriff described as “stalking”, between October 30, 2014, and February 1, 2015, in the run up to the trial when he had been told to have no contact with a child but made repeated attempts to contact her, a course of conduct which caused fear and alarm to all those involved. McCrae was jailed for six months for that.

The sentences totalled five years, but the sheriff told McCrae that because of the gravity of the offences, he was imposing an extended sentence “to ensure that the public is adequately protected against serious harm from you when you are eventually released.”

That would involve a five year period in custody, backdated to February 24, then the second part - the period of three years - being served on licence, and he warned McCrae that if he failed to comply with that, he could be recalled and returned to custody.

McCrae had also breached a bail order imposed after an earlier court appearance, preventing him from contacting named people. But the sheriff heard that during a village gala day last summer he was “continually” approaching them and trying to speak to others in their company.

“It was almost like a game of hide and seek - wherever they went he would appear soon after,” the court was told, and Sheriff Dickson imposed a further six months sentence for that offence, making a total of eight and a half years with five and a half to be spent in custody.

He also placed McCrae on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.