NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Christopher Readings jailed for Shetland child abuse

Christopher Readings [Pic: Newsline]
Image caption Christopher Readings was jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh

A former ambulance worker found guilty of sex acts against two children in Shetland has been jailed for 13 years.

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

He was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh after a jury at the High Court in Aberdeen found him guilty of six charges.

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

Defence QC Bill Taylor told the court that because Readings continued to deny the offences he had nothing to say about them.

However he produced references saying that Readings had been "of considerable service to the community".

Judge Lord Brodie told Readings: "Sexual abuse is cruel, it is selfish, it is damaging, and in my view it falls to the courts to impose what is, frankly, a punitive sentence."

The judge also made an order extending his licence conditions for three years and his name was added to the sex offenders register.

'Immense courage'

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.

Readings' previous employment included work with the Ministry of Defence and an ambulance service 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 earlier 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."

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