A sex predator who held the threat of a letter to the father of his child victims over them was jailed for eight years today (Wednesday).
George Ritchie conducted a catalogue of abuse against three young girls and tried to rape one child when she was aged seven.
Ritchie (56), showed victims an envelope and told them it contained a letter he had written to their father and warned that if they did not do as he asked he would pass it on.
A judge told Ritchie at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You threatened your victims that you would tell your father that they had misbehaved.”
Lord Boyd of Duncansby said: “Between 1977 and 1982 you sexually abused three young females. The youngest was six when you started and the eldest 12 when the abuse came to an end.”
The judge said it was clear that the offences involved “significant planning” by Ritchie.
Lord Boyd told Ritchie that he would have jailed him for 11 years for the sex crimes if he had been convicted following a trial.
The judge said that the offences he was dealing with were over 30 years told, but added that although they were “somewhat elderly” were serious.
Ritchie, of no fixed abode, earlier admitted three indecency offences against the girls and attempting to rape one of them.
All the child victims were threatened that he would tell on them if they did not comply with his instructions.
Ritchie, formerly of Glenrothes, committed the sex crimes in Glenrothes, Burntisland and Dunfermline.
He was previously jailed in 1999 for nine months after he was convicted of indecent assault on a 15-year-old boy at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.
The court heard that his earlier offending came under investigation after one of his victims went to Dunfermline police station in March this year and reported that she had been the victim of historical sexual abuse at his hands.
Ritchie molested one girl and carried out sex acts on her and told her: “If you smile I know you like it.”
Another terrified child was left crying uncontrollably after she was abused and recalled being so frightened that she started to wet the bed and told herself that as long as she cried Ritchie would leave her alone.
Ritchie told one victim that if she revealed the abuse he would tell her father that she had been smoking.
One girl was walking a pet dog and stopped to pick wild fruit in Dunfermline when Ritchie approached her and pulled a pornographic magazine from inside his jacket and showed her pictures of naked women, leaving her feeling scared.
The underage girl was also molested by Ritchie but when she was 11 or 12 he threatened that i she did no comply with his wishes he would show her father the letter.
She refused and told him that she would tell her father what had been going on.
After statements were taken from victims police went to a house in Dunfermline in April this year and detained Ritchie.
Defence solicitor advocate Gordon Martin said that after Ritchie’s release from his previous prison sentence he had voluntarily sought help.
He said the author of a background report on Ritchie appeared to take the view that the regret and remorse he had expressed was genuine.
Mr Martin said that since Ritchie’s release from the earlier jail term he had not re-offended. He added that Ritchie was “not a fool” and appreciated he would be jailed again for the sex offences against the girls.
Ritchie was also placed on the sex offenders’ register.