MBE stationmaster could face jail over child abuse
An 'upstanding citizen' has been exposed as a child abuser who physically and sexually attacked young children at a notorious care home.
Trevor Francis was given an MBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to the community in Aberdour, where he worked as a station master for more than 20 years.
But his community spirited facade hid the reality of the abuse he doled out to vulnerable kids in his care at the notorious St Margaret’s children’s home in Elie in the mid-1970s.
Francis (71), a qualified nurse, took over as a manager at the home in 1973 after twisted paedophile David Murphy was forced out of a job after allegations were made against him that were never followed up by police.
Francis was part of a new regime that should have removed the children from the threat of abuse.
But instead he was described as “creepy” and a “Jekyll and Hyde character” who subjected children in his care to brutal physical attacks and sickening sexual assaults.
Francis’s name came up during the probe into Murphy in the late ‘90s.
But it was only when one victim came forward in 2014 that police were able to build a case against him by visiting former residents of the home who told their stories of abuse at his hands.
Francis has been warned he faces a jail term when he returns to Dundee Sheriff Court to be sentenced next month.
Three girls – aged 14 to 16 at the time – told a jury Francis would creep into the girls’ dormitory at the home in the night and sexually assault them.
One told how he touched her on the chest under her bedsheets while another said he had touched her genitals under her covers.
A male resident at the home told how he had once run away and got as far as Kirkcaldy where he was picked up by police and taken back.
Francis took him into a laundry room and attacked him as punishment.
Other victims told how Francis slapped them in the face and beat them with a slipper in violent rages.
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the jury: “He is a manipulative, violent and predatory person who abused the trust of these vulnerable people who he was paid to protect.
“But instead he perpetrated physical and sexual abuse towards them and managed to stay undetected because of his Jekyll and Hyde personality.
“The accused might seem mild mannered - an upstanding citizen, a family man.
“His wife was at pains to tell you that her Trevor would never have acted like that.
“We are dealing with an intelligent, manipulative man who can turn on and off that predatory, violent behaviour.”
Giving evidence in his own defence Francis said he was “relatively easy going” and claimed to have had a good relationship with the children at the home.
In a bizarre exchange he said: “Come hell or high water they wanted me to watch Top of The Pops with them every week.
“It helped me relate to the kids and know about acts like Gary Glitter at the time.
“I suppose that’s the wrong name to use today though.”
He added: “Not in any situation would I have dreamed of doing what I’m accused of doing.
“It is totally inappropriate and totally wrong.
“But they say I did it.”
Francis denied a total of nine charges on indictment.
However, a jury of eight men and seven women took two and a half hours to find him guilty by majority of two offences of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards young girls and three assaults.
One further lewd and libidinous charge and three assaults were found not proven.
Defence solicitor Kerr Sneddon asked that Francis be released on bail ahead of sentencing.
Sheriff Alastair Brown deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and released Francis on bail meantime.
He said: “A prison sentence is a serious possibility.”