August 2018

Scots serial rapist who targeted underage girls worked at public pools teaching kids swimming lessons

Worried parents have demanded to know how a “predatory paedophile” got a job teaching young children to swim at public pools.

Serial rapist Gavin Scoular worked for more than a year at The Royal Commonwealth Pool and Portobello Swim Centre in Edinburgh, it has emerged.

Scoular, 23, is facing a life sentence after being convicted last week of raping five young women – three of them underage – as well as grooming and sexually abusing them

He is already serving a four and a half year sentence imposed in 2014 for similar crimes.

A mum whose daughter attended Scoular’s swimming lessons at the Commonwealth Pool seven years ago said she was shocked to hear that at the same time he was also grooming and raping underage girls.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “You have to ask how someone like this managed to escape detection for so long.

“I think we need some answers about how carefully Edinburgh Leisure checks the background of people working in jobs like this.”

Edinburgh Leisure, the arms-length company set up in 1998 by The City of Edinburgh Council to run all the capital’s pools failed to respond to requests for comment yesterday.

Originally Scoular faced an astonishing 132 charges against 100 separate girls and young women. He went to trial on 34 charges involving eight complainers and was convicted of 27 offences.

The fact that so many children were involved and Scoular’s conviction at the High Court in Livingston was his second means it ranks as Scotland’s worst ever “online grooming” case.

He used Facebook, SnapChat and Skype to befriend schoolgirls online, chatting innocently – sometimes for weeks – to win their trust.

Then, a jury heard, he pestered and cajoled his victims into sending him sexual photos of themselves and threatened to post the pictures on the web “for all the world to see”.

His blackmail tactics forced them into meeting him in person so he could abuse and brutally rape them.

Advocate depute Stephen Borthwick, prosecuting, branded him a “predatory paedophile” and said all the witnesses had given almost identical accounts of what he had done.

Mr Borthwick said: “Gavin Scoular indulged in sexualised conversation with them knowing full well they were under the age of 16, under the age of consent.

“He asked all of them to show him pictures of their naked body. In some cases he asked them to send him pictures of their naked bodies, and some of the girls went along with that.

“We’ve heard how he used those images as a method to control their behaviour, to get them to do what he wanted.

“In each case he moved on to meeting up with the girls. By his own admission he met up with them for one reason: engaging in unlawful sexual behaviour.”

The jury heard that Scoular told two of his victims that he worked as a lifeguard at council swimming pools teaching under age children to swim and he met them outside his places of work.

Judge Lord Summers said he was considering calling for a risk assessment with a view to imposing a lifelong restriction order on Scoular.

He deferred sentence until 19 September at the High Court in Edinburgh for a criminal justice social work report in the first instance.

He added Scoular’s name to the sec offenders register for a second time.

He told the pervert: “In the light of the gravity, extent, breadth and width of the convictions that have been found proven by the jury, you should be under no illusion that you’re looking at a very lengthy period of sentence.”

August 2014

Teenager sexually assaulted 13-year-old girl in field outside hospital

A teenager who abused a young girl in a field and contacted other children via social media has been jailed for four and a half years.

Gavin Scoular used BlackBerry Messenger, Skype, Facebook and Snapchat to contact the children, who were aged between ten and 12.

The court heard Scoular tried on various occasions to meet with a 13-year-old to engage in sexual activity. He eventually met her in a field near Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and sexually assaulted her.

The 19-year-old threatened another girl with posting indecent images of her online and forced two children to watch him perform a sex act on himself.

He previously pleaded guilty to the offences, which took place between August 2012 and August 2013.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday, Scoular, from Edinburgh, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and supervision for three years after his release.

Sheriff Alistair Noble said: “You have pleaded guilty to a series of extremely serious offences.”

Scoular contacted a 12-year-old girl on various occasions, sending her a number of messages asking about her sexual experiences and asking her to perform sex acts on him. He then threatened to post indecent images of her online if she did not meet up with him.

When she was with her 11-year-old friend, Scoular forced the girls to watch him perform sex acts on himself over Skype.

He also contacted 12-year-old and 13-year-old girls, sending them sexually inappropriate messages and asking them to perform sex acts on him.

Scoular contacted an 11-year-old girl and ten-year-old boy, asking them to meet him in Edinburgh.

Defence solicitor David Patterson said: “He is incredibly remorseful. He doesn’t fully understand why he was behaving in this fashion. Over time he has opened up to his family. They continue to support him.”

Scoular has been placed on the sex offender register for ten years.