Newburgh man jailed for abusing young girls

Cupar Sheriff Court.
Cupar Sheriff Court.

A Newburgh man who sexually abused two young girls over a period of more than three years has been jailed for four-and-half years.

Neil Russell (35), of 119a High Street, appeared for sentence before Sheriff Charles Macnair in Cupar, having earlier admitted using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards a girl aged between 10 and 11 at a house in Cowdenbeath on various occasions between July 26, 2007, and July 25, 2009, and using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards a second girl of the same age at houses in Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline between December 25, 2008, and November 30, 2010.

At a previous hearing, depute fiscal Dev Kapadia told the court the offences came to light after the first girl - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - was reported as a missing person by her mother.

When she was found by police, she told them she couldn’t return home and wanted to talk to a female officer.

Social work services then became involved and she confided that she had been abused on a number of occasions.

She was taken home and her family told of the allegations, but police received a hostile reception and were told she was lying.

“She became extremely upset and promised she wasn’t lying, then ran from the house,” said Mr Kapadia.

“At the time, the other girl was also in the house and she ran into the street.

“Child protection orders were commenced for the first girl and, as she was being taken to a foster placement, she indicated that the other girl had also been abused.”

The second girl later told police she had been abused by Russell on at least four occasions, said Mr Kapadia.

The allegations made by the first girl were conveyed to her family and they accepted they were, in fact, true.

A defence agent said Russell accepted responsibility for the offences and was deeply ashamed. He could not explain why he had done it.

But Sheriff Macnair rejected the agent’s assertion that Russell’s actions were opportunistic and not predatory.

“Over a period of almost three-and-half years you behaved in the most appalling and disgraceful manner,” he told him.

“I do not accept that this was opportunistic with no planning. This extent of this behaviour shows an abuse of trust.”

Russell was jailed for 27 months on each charge, with an extension period of two years following his release.

He was made subject of a Sexual Offences Protection Order for 10 years, placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and banned from working with children.