November 2016

Child rapist’s ‘unduly lenient’ prison sentence extended


A council care worker who repeatedly raped one girl and abused three others has had his jail sentence increased to ten years.

Gordon Collins was originally sentenced for six years after committing indecency offences against four underage girls in two Edinburgh children’s units and repeatedly raping one of them.

The Crown successfully appealed against the sentence imposed by the trial judge, Lady Wise, arguing it was “unduly lenient”.

Lord Brodie told the rapist via a video link to Barlinnie prison in Glasgow: “As the trial judge observed in her sentencing remarks, Collins committed an appalling series of offences involving the predatory sexual abuse of four vulnerable teenage girls.

“He was in a position of trust in relation to each complainer and the offences comprised a gross breach of trust.

“Although he had no analogous convictions, he has shown no remorse and continues to deny responsibility for the offences.”

Lord Brodie, who heard the appeal with Lady Clark of Calton and Lord Turnbull, said: “The court is bound to hold that the sentence of six years falls outside the range of sentences reasonably open to the trial judge and is unduly lenient.

“A sentence of ten years’ imprisonment would, in our opinion, be appropriate.”

The appeal judges quashed the original sentence imposed on Collins and substituted the higher prison term on the sex offender.

Collins, 60, was a residential care worker at Northfield Young Persons Unit and St Katherine’s Secure Unit, both in Edinburgh, when he committed the abuse between 1995 and 2006.

Lord Brodie said: “Each of the four victims was in some way troubled or had experienced a difficult upbringing.”

“The evidence disclosed that over a period of some 11 years he groomed each of the victims, gaining their trust and making them feel special before sexually abusing them,” said the senior appeal judge.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran QC told judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh that the jail term was “far below” what it ought to have been for punishment and deterrence.

He maintained “a significantly more substantial custodial sentence was required”.

Mr McSporran said: “The contention of the lord advocate is the sentence, in all the circumstances, does not adequately reflect the gravity of the charges.”

The judges were told victims were vulnerable young people, often from troubled backgrounds, who were entitled to expect sanctuary.

Lord Turnbull said during the hearing: “Many of these children are removed precisely to provide protection.”

Collins, formerly of Wolsey Avenue, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, had singled out victims for treats, outings and attention before exploiting them.

June 2016

Edinburgh care worker jailed for six years over sex abuse

A former council care worker has been jailed for six years for sexually abusing vulnerable children in local authority units.

Gordon Collins was convicted after a police cold case review found evidence he attacked youngsters at residential units in Edinburgh over 11 years.

The 59-year-old, of Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, was convicted following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Judge Lady Wise jailed Collins for six years for the “appalling” crimes.

Collins was earlier found guilty of indecency offences against four underage girls and the repeated rape of one of them.

Collins, an assistant unit manager, told his trial that nothing had come of an inquiry into him instigated by social services in 1997 but he was later suspended after the diary of one of his victim’s was found.

He first began his abuse in 1995 with a 13-year-old girl whom he would kiss, touch and tell she was beautiful as he plied her with cigarettes and sweets.

Another teenager was kissed, bitten on the neck and molested by him over a year during her time at a young persons unit.

A further underage girl was repeatedly raped by him over almost a year after he went into her bedroom at night in one of the units.

In 2006 he cuddled, kissed, bit a 15-year-old on the neck and told her he loved her while molesting the girl at a secure unit for youngsters in Edinburgh.

Advocate depute Jane Farquharson told Collins’ trial: “Rather than care and protect, he has sought to exploit these children.”

Collins was interviewed by police in 2006 after one of the victims had made a complaint to them, but at the time it was considered there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

Another woman contacted police in 2011 and gave an account of what had happened to her as a resident a city young persons unit. A cold case review was undertaken and police were given a list of all the female residents in the units at the time.

Lady Wise placed Collins on the sex offenders register indefinitely as well as sending him to prison for six years.

Passing sentence, she said: “You have been convicted by the jury of an appalling course of criminal conduct consisting of predatory sexual abuse of four young girls in your care.

“All were extremely vulnerable and you were in a position of authority and trust to each of them.

“You have shown no remorse for your actions and continue to deny responsibility for the offences while your victims continue to live with the consequences.”

April 2016

Ex-council carer Gordon Collins guilty of sexually abusing children

A former council care worker has been found guilty of sexually abusing four young residents at children’s units in Edinburgh.

Gordon Collins, 59, groomed troubled youngsters before molesting them while working in two homes in the capital.

Collins, from Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, had denied seven charges of indecency and one of rape at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He was caught after police opened a cold case investigation.

Judge Lady Wise deferred sentence for the court to obtain reports.

She told him: “Given the serious nature of the offences of which you have been convicted of, I will revoke your bail and remand you in custody.”

The abuse involved four different girls at Northfields Young Persons Unit and St Katherine’s secure unit between 1995 to 2006.

In her closing speech to jurors, prosecution lawyer Jane Farquharson said: “Rather than care and protect, he has sought to exploit these children.

“These are women who have absolutely nothing to gain by concocting lies against the accused.”

During proceedings, the prosecutor said the abuse had occurred in the very places that should have been protecting the child victims who had “very troubled young lives.”

She pointed out each of the victims was not in contact with the others at the time of the offending.

One young woman who had told of how she had been abused by him told the court that she had begun to realise that his behaviour was wrong at the time, but did not tell anyone.

She said: “Who was going to believe me, the troubled kind, against him, a senior member of staff?”

He repeatedly raped one young woman during her time in care.

Defence advocate Matt Jackson challenged the rape victim, now aged 26, that the attacks, which took place between March 2004 and February 2005, did not happen.

But the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, replied: “It simply did happen and he knows that I know.”

Collins will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on 31 May.