July 2017: George Brough currently attends a Catholic church in the centre of Falkirk town daily, St Francis Xavier RC church

October 1996

Paedophile teacher has unduly lenient sentence extended 

A teacher who sexually abused two girl pupils almost 20 years ago was jailed for a year in February after appeal judges overturned a sentence of three years’ probation.

George Brough, a former PE and religious education teacher at Holyrood High School in Edinburgh, escaped a prison sentence to the outrage of his victims, at the High Court in Glasgow last year.

Brough, who taught at the school until 1981, was described as a pillar of the Roman Catholic Church in Edinburgh. But, during his teaching days, he had sexually abused two girls, aged 14 and 15, after they had turned to him with their problems.

His crimes came to light after the victims met 17 years later in a Leith cafe and realised they had both been abused by him.

The judge, Lord Ross, concluding that the original sentence was unduly lenient, said the charges were very serious and the conduct disclosed in them was “quite deplorable”.

February 1996

Teacher who abused girls goes to jail Crown wins its appeal

A teacher who sexually abused two girl pupils nearly 20 years ago was jailed for a year yesterday after appeal judges overturned a sentence of three years’ probation.

George Brough, a former PE and religious education teacher at a Catholic secondary school in Edinburgh, escaped a prison sentence, to the outrage of his victims, at the High Court in Glasgow last year.

The Crown turned to the Court of Criminal Appeal. And yesterday the Lord Justice-Clerk, Lord Ross, sitting with Lords Morison and Weir, agreed that the sentence imposed on Brough, 52, was unduly lenient.

The judges quashed Lord Johnston’s original sentence, and instead ordered Brough to serve 12 months in jail.

Brough, who taught at Holyrood High School in Edinburgh until 1981, was described as a pillar of the Roman Catholic Church in the city. However, during his teaching days, he had sexually abused two girls, aged 14 and 15, after they had turned to him with their problems.

Brough had handled the girls’ breasts and committed sex acts with them at the school, in Holyrood Park and at the Braid Hills.

He told the victims not to reveal what had happened, claiming that it would jeopardise his job and family.

His crimes came to light after the victims met 17 years later in a Leith cafe and realised that they had both been abused by the former gym teacher, who at one stage coached the Scottish basketball team.

After Brough, of Cluny Terrace, Morningside, admitted the indecency offences when he appeared at the High Court, Lord Johnston was supplied with testimonials on his behalf, stating that he was a changed man who was devoted to working for church and community.

The father-of-eight became a taxi driver after quitting teaching, but has also given up that occupation.

Lord Johnston said that it would not serve the public interest to jail Brough, who no longer worked with young people. There was no suggestion that he might re-offend.

But the judge’s decision not to imprison him was greeted with a shout from one of the victims at the High Court in Glasgow: “What about our 19 years of hell ….. you pillar of the church?”

Advocate-depute Valerie Stacey told the appeal judges yesterday that both victims had been vulnerable at the time of the abuse and had suffered as a result.

One of the victims had come from a broken home. “She wanted someone at school to talk to at that stage in her life. He (Brough) spoke to her and discussed with her the difficulties she was having at home and in doing so he gained her trust,” said Mrs Stacey.

But then Brough had abused the girl and the trust she had placed in him.

The victim trained as a nurse, but believed that subsequent relationships had suffered as a result of the abuse and went for counselling in 1991.

The other victim had confided in Brough over fears that she was a target for bullying. She tried to commit suicide when she was 18.

Brough’s counsel, Leeona Dorrian, QC, urged the appeal judges not to change the original sentence.

She said that, since the offences 19 years ago, Brough has changed his lifestyle. “He has in all ways attempted to mend his ways, and appears to have been successful in that.”

Lord Ross, who gave the appeal judges’ decision, said that, in a case of this type involving offences committed by a teacher, a jail sentence would be “well-nigh inevitable” in the absence of very special circumstances.

Lord Ross said that they had come to the conclusion that the sentence imposed by Lord Johnston was unduly lenient.

“These are very serious charges and the conduct disclosed in them was quite deplorable,” he said.

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