South Scotland

Man jailed over Firth of Lorn activity centre indecency

Oban Sheriff Court Image copyright Scottish Court Service
Image caption Johnson-Ferguson was jailed at Oban Sheriff Court

A businessman convicted of indecent practices with young boys at an activity centre on an island in the Firth of Lorn has been jailed.

Torquil Johnson-Ferguson, 65, from Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway, abused three boys aged 13 or under at the Rua Fiola centre.

He was convicted of three charges of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour.

Johnson-Ferguson was jailed for 18 months at Oban Sheriff Court.

He was also put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Details of the outcome of the hearing were confirmed by the Crown Office.

Johnson-Ferguson owns the island in the Firth of Lorn and, until recently, operated an activity centre there.

'Escaped justice'

From 1976, the centre ran week-long courses during the summer months, offering kayaking, rock climbing and survival skills targeted at nine to 14-year-old boys from private schools throughout the UK.

Prosecutors said it was during those courses, that on three separate occasions - between 1981 and 1986 - Johnson-Ferguson carried out the sexual assaults on the boys.

Speaking after the sentencing, Procurator Fiscal Fraser Gibson said: "Torquil Johnson-Ferguson was in position of trust and abused that to prey on vulnerable young boys.

"For nearly 30 years he may well have thought that he had escaped justice but he was wrong and is now paying the consequences for his actions.

"I would urge any victims of sexual crimes, even ones which occurred decades ago, to come forward and report them.

"They will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors and we will do all we can to deliver justice."

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