November 2011

Pervert preyed on 5 girls

A pervert who preyed on a string of young girls during a reign of terror that lasted more than six years is today finally behind bars.

James Thomson, 61, targeted children as young as eight during a string of offences at an address and other locations in Greenock dating back to 2002.

He evaded trial for several years due to red tape surrounding the case, and health difficulties, but was finally brought to justice at Greenock Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

After a 12-day trial, a 15-strong jury found Thomson guilty by a majority verdict of five separate charges against five different girls, all aged between eight and 15.

The trial heard harrowing evidence from the victims, who described how Thomson befriended them through a relative before abusing each in turn.

One girl told how, aged 10, she had gone on a camping trip with the 61-year-old and another girl to Kilcreggan.

She sobbed as she told how Thomson placed his hand under her top and down her trousers as they lay in the tent.

Another victim told how she was inappropriately touched by Thomson while playing with friends within his then-home in Greenock’s Fancy Farm Road.

Thomson was also convicted by the jury of using lewd and libidinous behaviour towards a girl within a car park close to KFC at the Waterfront.

The girl, now 18, told how the paedophile stroked her thigh and neck before kissing her on the cheek as she sat terrified in a parked car close to the fast food takeaway.

The jury also found Thomson guilty of abusing a 13-year-old girl within his home by watching her while she was in a state of undress, as well as placing his hand under her T-shirt.

His final victim told how she was 15 when she driven to the back of a building in Eldon Street and abused by Thomson, who refused to let her leave the car.

He was convicted of detaining her against her will by grabbing her arm and repeatedly placing his hand on her thigh, putting his hand down her trousers and trying to unbutton her clothing.

Thomson was originally charged with 10 separate offences against nine girls but had four deleted during the course of the trial. A final charge involving lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards another 12-year-old was found not proven.

Thomson, who had moved from Fancy Farm Road to a house in High Street in Rothesay during the trial, was convicted of offences between 2 June 2002 and 31 October 2008.

Sheriff John Herald deferred sentence on the accused for background reports, with defence solicitor Aidan Gallagher’s motion for bail refused.

Sheriff Herald warned: “I take into account the number of charges and their nature. In my view, a custodial sentence is almost inevitable.” Thomson was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register with immediate effect and remanded in custody for the preparation of background reports until the end of the month.