NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Ex-ambulance man guilty of child sex abuse in Shetland

Christopher Readings [Pic: Newsline]
Image caption Christopher Readings is expected to be sentenced in February

A former ambulance worker has been found guilty of sex acts against two children in Shetland.

Christopher Readings, 44, of Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire, sexually assaulted a girl and a boy on various occasions between 2008 and 2010.

At the High Court in Aberdeen, a jury of 10 men and four women reached a unanimous verdict on six charges.

They included sexual assault, attempted rape and carrying out lewd and libidinous practices towards children.

The two child victims gave evidence against Readings during the trial.

The court heard one victim, a girl, who cannot be named, told her mother of the allegations and police were alerted.

Private ambulance

Defence lawyer John Keenan told the court his client had worked in several jobs, including work with the Ministry of Defence and with an ambulance service while living in England.

Readings, who has never worked with the Scottish Ambulance Service, was one of a group trying to set up Shetland Independent Ambulance Service, a private initiative that would have been funded by the local health board and charitable donations.

Northern Constabulary's Det Ch Insp Kenny Anderson welcomed the conviction.

He said: "This was a serious child abuse case which has involved a number of agencies working together and resulted in inquiries being conducted throughout the United Kingdom.

"I also wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the young victims who, despite suffering what can only be described as prolonged and sustained abuse, have shown immense courage.

"Although Readings was presented with compelling evidence of his guilt, he continued to deny his crimes and chose to put his victims through the further ordeal of having to relive their abuse to give evidence in court.

"I and my colleagues who have been directly involved in the investigation of this appalling case of abuse, hope that today's verdict allows, in some way, the young victims to move on with their lives."

Readings was remanded in custody pending reports. He will be sentenced on 11 February.

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