A FATHER-OF-FIVE who sexually assaulted children on Arran during a 21-year reign of abuse has been jailed for the offences.
Duncan Mulholland preyed on the youngsters in the middle of the night during sleepovers at his house – and abused them while they slept.
He attacked the young girls between 1987 and 2008 – when they were aged between just seven and 15.
Mulholland, who has children of his own, first struck in the late 1980s at a house in Uplawmoor, East Renfrewshire, abusing a young girl who was just seven years old.
The 55-year-old crept in to the girl’s bedroom whilst she was sleeping and woke her up, stood next to her bed while naked, told her to be quiet and then sexually assaulted her.
He preyed on his next victim between 1996 and 1997 at his home – Torylinn Farm in Kilmory on Arran.
Again he entered the room where she was sleeping, lay down next to her naked and touched her inappropriately.
And he targeted his first victim at his home between 2005 and 2008, entering the room where she slept and putting his hand under the covers.
He then put his hands inside her underwear and touched her inappropriately. Mulholland denied he’d done anything wrong towards the girls but was convicted by a jury following a trial at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.
Sentence was deferred for him to be assessed by social workers and he was remanded in custody until he returned to the dock this week to be sentenced.
Defence Advocate Maryam Labaki asked for leniency for her client, saying he had been assessed as being a low risk of reoffending.
And she said that the time he had spent behind bars had “had a very significant effect” on him as a 55-year-old man with no previous convictions.
She asked Sheriff Alistair Watson to spare him jail and said he could be placed on a Community Payback Order requiring him to carry out unpaid work.
She explained: “This would have a further punitive effect and, along with a supervision requirement, would place the accused in a position of trust for a significant period of time.”
The advocate said Mulholland’s wife and kids would suffer as he ran a livestock farm and a wood fuel business and jailing him would radically reduce the amount of money his wife and their five children have to live off.
But Sheriff Watson ruled there was only one way he could deal with Mulholland, and locked him up.
As he jailed him for three-and-a-half years – two years of which was for the Uplawmoor assault and nine months for each of the Arran attacks – he said: “The complainer in charge one gave evidence from Australia and it is fairly graphically recorded in my mind.
“You have been convicted by a jury of engaging in a course of sexually abusive conduct to children spanning a number of years, from 1987 to 2008 at the latest.
“The course of conduct was conducted in a way which, in my view, is a gross breach of trust.
“These children were entitled to look to you as an adult – a man they could place trust in and feel safe.
“There is a complete lack of remorse.
“Only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”
Mulholland showed no emotion as he learned he was being jailed while members of his family, believed to be his wife and children, wept in the gallery.