Serial Scots predator used Facebook and Snapchat to lure young victims in sex crime spree
A prolific sex predator who groomed girls online through social media before abusing and raping victims has been jailed for 12 years.
Gavin Scoular, 24, began targeting underage children when he was aged 15 and went on to carry out seven rape attacks on four victims.
Scoular’s sex crime spree went on until he was 18 and continued even after he was freed by a court on bail.
He used social media to make contact with potential victims and encouraged some to send him sexualised pictures and threatened to publish them online.
Scoular, formerly of Niddrie House Drive, Edinburgh , had originally faced 132 charges involving alleged offences against more than 90 girls. But after a legal challenge where a judge upheld a claim that a police search was unlawful he ended up standing trial on 34 charges.
He was found guilty last year of a total of 27 offences, including seven rapes, sexual assault, underage sex and grooming charges committed against a total of seven victims in the Edinburgh area between 2010 and 2013.
A judge told Scoular at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have been convicted of a catalogue of offences against young girls aged between 12 and 17.”
Lord Summers pointed out that all the victims were younger than Scoular and added: “In most cases you coerced them into unwanted sexual activity by what we call online grooming.”
The judge said he had used social media to make contact with girls and offered them affection and companionship at a time when some were vulnerable. But all Scoular wanted was sexual gratification and he discarded them afterwards.
Lord Summers pointed out that a full risk assessment was carried out on Scoular because of the possibility of imposing an Order for Lifelong Restriction on him but the report placed him in the medium risk category.
The judge originally selected a sentence of 18 years for Scoular but modified it to 12 years to take account of such factors as his age at the time of the offending.
He also ordered that Scoular should be kept under supervision for a further five year period and placed him on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
Scoular was given a four and a half year sentence in 2014 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after sending sexualised texts to young children.
Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson said a search of Scoular’s home took place in 2013 and mobile phones and computer equipment was seized.
The proceedings in the sheriff court were based on evidence from the phones. But the computer equipment was later looked at resulting in a second inquiry which led to the further charges in the High Court.
Mr Paterson said: “He has gone to the internet to engage with other people. Unfortunately he has engaged with other people in an entirely inappropriate manner.”
The solicitor advocate said: “He is a man who knows he has got to change. He wants to try to move on with his life.”
The court heard that Scoular used Facebook, Snapchat and Skype to befriend schoolgirls and would engage in online chatting, sometimes for weeks, to earn their trust before bringing pressure to bear.
Advocate depute Steven Borthwick told the jury at Scoular’s trial last year that he had indulged in sexual conversations with them knowing they were under the age 16, the age of consent.
He asked girls to show him pictures of their naked bodies and in some cases to send them to him and went on to use such images to get them to do what he wanted.
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.”
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.