Tayside and Central Scotland

Paedophile doctor preyed on schoolgirls

Edinburgh High Court
Image caption The judge warned Mitchell he faced a lifelong restriction order

A casualty doctor who tried to lure two primary schoolgirls into a car has been warned he could face a life sentence.

Leslie Mitchell, from Carron, Falkirk, approached the girls, aged 10 and 11, as they were returning home from school.

The 56-year-old, who calls himself a "recovering paedophile", now faces a lifelong restriction order after the judge condemned the "predatory nature" of his crime.

Sentence was deferred until September.

Mitchell, a former emergency doctor at Stirling Royal Infirmary, approached the two girls in Falkirk on 13 January. He asked them if they were the children he had given 50p to sometime before, and questioned them over what they got for Christmas.

He also told them they were "beautiful and attractive" and asked if he could tickle their legs.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Hardie called for a full risk assessment report, which can lead to an Order for Lifelong Restriction.

The sentence is reserved for the most serious sex offences and crimes of violence other than murder.

Under the restriction, a judge sets a minimum sentence the offender must serve but any future decision to release him is taken by the Parole Board.

The judge told Mitchell: "The social enquiry report that has been prepared on you following your plea of guilty is alarming in its contents.

"The first and obvious cause for concern is your attitude towards young girls and their capacity to consent to sexual activity.

"Secondly, there is your lack of victim awareness and thirdly is the predatory nature of this offence and also your conduct in driving around areas where there are primary schools."

The judge said Mitchell's behaviour seemed to have escalated "quite significantly" after he got an internet connection in 2000, with him using chatrooms to groom children.

'Startling statement'

The first offender later admitted to a social worker that he had a long term sexual interest in young girls and revealed previous offending against victims of a similar age in England.

He also disclosed he accessed images of child sexual abuse on the internet and used chatrooms to contact youngsters with a view to grooming them.

Mitchell, who has been suspended by the General Medical Council, was assessed as posing a high risk of re-offending and causing serious harm, particularly to girls.

Lord Hardie said the background report on Mitchell contained the "rather startling statement" that he had carried out his own risk assessment into the chances of him being detected, but he thought "the rewards" were greater.

He added: "His risk assessment came out with a balance in favour of continuing this behaviour even against the risk of detection."

Mitchell was also placed on the sex offenders' register.

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