Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Pensioner fined for molesting girl, 6

Stuart Cowie Image copyright Alex Lawrie
Image caption Stuart Cowie told the child's mother that he was just 'fooling around'

A pensioner who admitted sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl has been fined £2,000 for the abuse.

Stuart Cowie, who was extradited from South Africa to face a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, admitted carrying out the assault in 2012.

The court heard that the 75-year-old was caught molesting the child by his wife.

In addition to fining him, Sheriff Kenneth McGowan placed him on the sex offenders' register for five years.

The court was told that Cowie and his wife Margaret had flown to Edinburgh from their South African home just ten days prior to the incident in October 2012 and were staying with the girl's parents.

'Talking nonsense'

Fiscal depute Kim Schofield said: "On October 7, around 5.30pm the accused was sitting in the TV room with the girl, who at the time was six-years-old.

"They were both sitting on the sofa and the accused placed his hand down the girl's trousers."

Mr Schofield said Cowie then exposed himself to the child. He added: "At which point, his wife walked into the room and saw the accused with his trouser's zip open and asked the girl to leave (the room).

"His wife later confronted him about what she had seen, saying she had seen his zip open. He replied she was 'talking nonsense'.

"While this conversation was ongoing, the mother of the child walked past the room and heard the argument. She heard Cowie's wife say 'I saw you with your zip down while the girl was there'."

The girl's mother then confronted Cowie about the attack, who responded by telling her: "I don't know what came over me - I just started fooling around."

Cowie was thrown out of the house by the child's parents and fled back to South Africa.

The court heard that Cowie sent two letters to the family begging for forgiveness for his "inexcusable behaviour", adding that he was "deeply ashamed" at what he had done.

George Henry, defending, said Cowie's family life had "disintegrated" since he admitted the abuse.

Mr Henry also said that upon his arrest in South Africa, his client had spent two nights in custody before being returned to the UK and then spent a further five nights on remand in HMP Edinburgh.