Driving instructor locked up after abusing 14 students

Neil Addison. Picture: Kingdom News Agency
Neil Addison. Picture: Kingdom News Agency

A PERVERT driving instructor who sexually abused 14 of his young female students while they were behind the wheel of his car was today locked up.

A jury found Neil Addison unanimously guilty of all the charges he faced of carrying out sex attacks on young women in the Fife area over the course of more than three years.

A four-day trial at Dundee Sheriff Court heard from a string of young women who told strikingly similar stories of starting lessons with “friendly” Addison – only for him to begin groping them a few weeks into their tuition.

On many of the girls he would begin by touching them just above the knee - what he described to police as a “reassuring pat” – and over the course of future lessons he began “squeezing” higher and higher.

Several girls told how he ended up with his hand wedged between their legs. One said she could feel his pinkie “wiggling” over her private parts.

READ MORE: Driving instructor accused of sexually assaulting 15 students

Addison later “escalated” to groping several of the girls’ breasts.

His final victim – 17 at the time – told how she fled his car in tears after Addison first groped between her thighs before lunging over and grabbing her breast while she drove around roads in Fife.

She and her sister - also a victim of Addison - went to police that night, setting the ball rolling on investigation that uncovered many more victims.

The following day Addison was interviewed by police where he said he was: “Stupid, stupid – 18-year-old head on an older body.”

READ MORE: Driving instructor ‘cupped student’s breast’

But he denied all the charges against him and forced 14 young women to give “distressing” evidence over the course of a four day trial.

A jury took just one hour and 45 minutes to find him unanimously guilty of all the charges.

Sheriff Tom Hughes remanded Addison in custody pending sentencing next month.

Addison’s final victim, now 18, told the jury that Addison had touched her “just above the knee” during early lessons - moving on to her upper thigh as time went on.

During that final two-hour session he had gone as far as putting his hand between her upper thighs, touching against her private parts.

She said he then
reached over and thrust his hand down her top - grabbing her left breast.

The girl said: “I was driving with one hand and trying to push him away.

“At one point the side of his hand had been in my crotch.

“He was then pinging my waistband.

“When I got out of the car he said ‘don’t tell anyone about this.’”

Addison was detained by police the following day and interviewed.

During that he admitted he was “possibly” attracted to the girl - 37 years his junior - and added: “Stupid, stupid - 18-year-old head on an older body.”

Earlier the trial heard from a string of young women - who told how they had been groped by Addison.

A pattern emerged of little or no physical contact during early lessons - with initial touches on the knee leading to “squeezing” of the upper thigh as time went on.

The trial heard that an investigation was begun into Addison after two sisters came forward accusing him of sexual assaults.

Police then interviewed him and seized records of his previous students before making contact with them.

They were not told the nature of the inquiry – but all volunteered that they had been touched by him.

However, Addison flatly denied touching “of a sexual nature” and claimed to police he was only giving a “reassuring pat”.

One girl told earlier told the court that Addison had repeatedly brushed his hands over her breast after telling her she had hair on her.

And two of the girls told how over the course of a series of lessons Addison had started out touching them on the knee – before gripping the tops of their thighs after becoming more “comfortable”.

Another victim said she had refused to get back in a car with him after the first time he touched her.

Others said they only persisted with their lessons with him because they’d already booked their driving tests and paid for blocks of lessons.

In her closing speech to the jury, fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson said: “He feels it is appropriate to shove his hand down the top of a 17-year-old girl in the middle of a driving lesson because he is attracted to her.”

But defence lawyer David McLaughlin argued: “Their actions are not consistent with being sexually assaulted week in, week out.”

Addison (55) of Holly Park, Cupar, denied a total of 15 charges on indictment, allegedly committed between June 2014 and August 2017 during car journeys across north east Fife.

One of the charges was withdrawn at the end of the Crown case after the court heard the alleged victim emigrated to Australia.

The jury of eight men and seven women took just one hour and 45 minutes to find Addison guilty of all 14 remaining charges.

Sheriff Tom Hughes deferred sentence until September 10 for social work background reports, remanded Addison in custody and placed him on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

He said: “All the young women we heard from were aged from 17 to 21 when you carried out this course of conduct.

“They were vulnerable at that particular time. They were confined in a car with you at a time when they looked to you to assist them in learning to drive.

“You were in a position of trust and they were paying you good money to help them.

“You were misplacing that trust and abusing the situation you found yourself in.

“I take the view you seemed to groom these young women.

“For several weeks you ingratiated yourself to them and as time went on you took more and more liberties with them, leading to the situation we heard from the very last witness.

“It is very gratifying to know they were able to alert police to this matter and ensure it didn’t escalate.

“Heaven knows what could have happened had this gone untraced.”

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