Fife sex offender jailed for historic abuse

PIc: Ian Rutherford
PIc: Ian Rutherford

A sex offender who began preying on younger girls as a schoolboy has been jailed for 23 months.

A judge told Colin Christie at the High Court in Edinburgh: “There is no alternative to a custodial sentence properly open to me.”

Lady Carmichael said that was despite Christie (51) having a lack of offending since at least 2000 and a good work record.

She said: “Many of these offences were committed when you yourself were very young.”

The judge was told the former logistics manager had been assessed as suitable for an alternative community based disposal despite the nature of the crimes he committed.

Lady Carmichael placed Christie, of Kelty, on the sex offenders’ register and he was led off to the cells to a call of “pervert” from one man in the public benches.

First offender Christie was earlier found guilty of seven indecency offences and a sexual assault involving four different victims between 1977 and 2000 at houses in Leven, Kennoway and Coaltown of Wemyss. He was acquitted of a charge of rape.

He began molesting and making sexual remarks to his first victim, who was seven, when he was aged 12.

Christie carried out sex acts on three children during the 1970s and 1980s. He later made a sexual remark to a fourth girl.

Defence counsel Laura Thomson told the court: “I don’t seek to downplay the serious nature of his offending behaviour nor the effect which it undoubtedly had on its victims.”

“Both he and I appreciate a custodial sentence will be foremost in your ladyships’s mind this morning,” she said.

But Miss Thomson said that Christie had offered to plead guilty to offences largely in the terms he was ultimately convicted on.

She said he had lived a crime-free life for the “better part of 20 years” and had worked hard.

She said he had handed in his notice prior to his earlier trial beginning citing “personal reasons”.

Miss Thomson said he had been assessed as suitable for a non-custodial disposal by a social worker and if such an outcome occurred he would make contact with his former employer.

He had been placed in a minimum risk category and was remorseful for his behaviour and its consequences.

A Spokesman for NSPCC Scotland said: “Christie’s long campaign of horrifying abuse will have had a devastating impact on his victims. We hope the sentence passed will offer some relief.

“The effects of child sexual abuse can last long into adulthood and it’s vital that victims are supported and know they will be listened to when they speak out.

“It is also crucial that Christie receives treatment while in prison to reduce any risk of reoffending he poses when he is released.”

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free, 24/7, on 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111.