January 2019

Pervert police officer sexually abused young relative of grieving family he was sent to look after

A serving police officer sexually abused a young boy by making him play a vile game called “find the truncheon” – after being sent to comfort and support the victim’s grieving family.

Alexander McLellan was a family liaison officer with Northumbria Police and was dispatched to help a family who needed support after a tragedy.

A court heard they grew so close to the officer, they became friends and considered him to be a kind and sympathetic man, even trusting him to look after their children.

But in a disgusting betrayal of trust, McLellan repaid their faith in him by sexually abusing a very young relative.

The pervert, who denies the offences took place, was convicted of six sex offences after a trial last month and was jailed for seven years at Newcastle Crown Court.

Det Supt Sav Patsalos, head of Northumbria Police’s Professional Standards Department, said: “Alexander McLellan abused his privileged position and has shown complete disregard for what a police officer should stand for.

“McLellan left Northumbria Police in 2001 and when the historic abuse was reported in 2017, a thorough investigation was conducted by specially-trained officers in our safeguarding department.

“I would like to praise the bravery of the victim in coming forward and I hope the sentencing will give confidence to the communities we serve that we take allegations of this nature extremely seriously.

“I want to encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and speak to police. We can support you and will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice.”

During the trial, jurors were told McLellan was sent by Northumbria Police to act as a family liaison officer following the tragedy.

Opening the case, Paul Cleasby, prosecuting, said: “The family found him to be a great comfort, he was sympathetic and kind and the family quickly grew to like him.

“Mr McLellan would pop in and check on the family and over time the relationship developed from a professional relationship to a friendship in that Mr McLellan would be invited for dinner with the family and he would be invited to stay over on a night on a number of occasions.

“Given that Mr McLellan was a serving police officer and had now become a family friend, they trusted him.”

Mr Cleasby said on occasions, McLellan would be trusted to look after children for short periods when he was at the house.

He said: “If Mr McLellan had been staying over then he was left in charge of looking after the children with whom he appeared to show a genuine interest.

“Sadly, say the prosecution, the trust that they had placed in Alexander McLellan was misplaced because when the opportunity arose, the defendant took it to engage in sexual activity with (a young child).

“The defendant disguised the sexual activity and made it part of a game so that (the child) would think it was fun.

“When the defendant was lying on the sofa bed and he was alone with (the child) he would encourage him to play a game the defendant called ‘find the truncheon’.”

McLellan encouraged the victim to touch his genitals “for some minutes” and it happened four or five times, the complainant said.

As part of the “game”, McLellan also molested the boy.

On other occasions, McLellan visited the family’s home with a woman he was in a relationship with but still took the opportunity to play the “find the truncheon game”.

The victim recollects that during a later visit McLellan tried to get him to play the game again but he said he did not want to play and the sexual abuse stopped.

The victim did not disclose what had happened to him until telling his mum and subsequently the police in 2017.

McLellan, who after leaving the police had worked in security for a cruise ship operator, was interviewed by police about the allegations.

Mr Cleasby said: “He denied that there had ever been any sexual contact and further denied that he was ever left alone with the children.

“He accepted that his relationship with the family progressed from a purely professional one to one of friendship. He admitted that on occasions he stayed the night at their home.

“The defendant accepted that he was sexually attracted to boys but denied that he had been sexually attracted to (the victim). The defendant accused him of telling lies, of fabricating the account and making it up.

“The prosecution case is that (the victim) has no reason to fabricate anything against this defendant, he has no motive to tell any lies and you can be sure that the account he gives is truthful.”

McLellan, 54, now of of St James Street, Paisley, Scotland, was found guilty of four charges of gross indecency on a child under 14 and two of indecent assault.