MBE pensioner to stand trial for historic sex abuse

Dundee Sheriff Court
Dundee Sheriff Court

An MBE recipient is to stand trial accused of historic child sex abuse at a children’s home.

Trevor Francis - who was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012 for services to the community - faces nine charges over alleged physical and sexual abuse of children under his care at St Margaret’s Care Home in Elie in the mid 1970s.

The offences are said to have begun in December 1973 and run for almost two years.

Prosecutors say his first target was a 14-year-old boy, who he allegedly struck on the face with his hand to his injury.

Francis (71) is further alleged to have assaulted another boy in his care by seizing him by his clothing and forcibly removing it until he was naked in full view of other child residents.

On two occasions in 1974 he is alleged to have used lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards a girl, then aged 15 and, in a further charge, striking her on the face with his hand to her injury.

Again, in 1974, Francis is also accused of attacking a girl aged 14 by grabbing her arm, pulling it behind her back, pushing her up a set of stairs, instructing others to hold her arms and forcibly removing some of her clothing.

A third young girl, said to have been 14 or 15 at the time, is said to have been the victim of another sex attack in which Francis is alleged to have gone into her room and touched her genitals over her clothing.

On various occasions between February 1974 and December 1975 Francis is alleged to have assaulted a young boy at the care home and at a caravan park in Abereenshire by striking him on the head at the caravan park, and striking him on the naked buttocks with items of footwear and over the head with a book at the care home.

Prosecutors further allege that Francis carried out a penetrative sex assault at some point in 1975 on a 15-year-old girl.

A final charge alleges that he knocked a young boy unconscious by punching him on the head and causing his head to strike a wall between September and December 1975.

Francis of Aberdour denies a total of nine charges on indictment at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Alastair Brown set a trial date in March and ordered Francis to appear at a further pre-trial hearing two weeks before that jury sitting.