July 2016

Man faces life in prison after horrific catalogue of abuse against women and children


A north-east man who carried out a horrific catalogue of abuse on women and children over a 24-year period could be facing a life sentence.

Colin Gillies went on trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court earlier this year, facing 20 separate charges.

They included assaulting three women and a child to the danger of their lives.

A jury found him guilty of 18 of the violent offences after deliberating for less then two hours.

Gillies was found guilty of seven assaults to danger of life, nine assaults to injury, one assault and one assault to severe injury.

The jury returned a not-proven verdict on the other two charges.

Sentence had been deferred on the serial abuser for background reports.

But when Gillies returned to the city’s sheriff court to learn his fate yesterday, Sheriff Graham Buchanan decided his catalogue of offending was too serious for him to deal with and remitted the case to the High Court.

He could be given a life long restriction order – meaning he would only be released from prison if it was deemed safe to allow him to return to society.

Gillies, of Townhead, Inverbervie, will now be sentenced by a judge at a later date.

During his week-long trial, the court heard he committed the offences at various addresses in the north-east.

All of the women were throttled or had their breathing restricted by Gillies as he used pillows or cushions to smother them.

One woman told the court she was forced to the floor by the 50-year-old while he placed a pillow over her head.

He also hit her on the head with a broom.

During closing speeches, fiscal depute Stephanie Ross said one of the women had feared for her life on two occasions when Gillies compressed her neck.

Addressing the jury, Sheriff Buchanan said: “This was a very distressing case and I do say some of you may have been a bit shocked by the nature of some of the evidence.”