Scotland

Rapist who targeted young girls jailed

Owen Holleran Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Owen Holleran abused two victims over a 13-year period

A rapist who preyed on two young girls over a 13-year period has been jailed for 11 years.

Owen Hollern, 70, carried out a series of attacks between 1975 and 1988 at different addresses in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire.

Hollern was found guilty of four rape charges as well as lewd and libidinous behaviour.

The High Court in Glasgow heard the pensioner had caused "profound and long lasting damage" to his victims.

Judge Johanna Johnston QC told him: "You have been convicted of a series of dreadful sexual offences."

Hollern had denied the accusations.

But, in her closing speech to jurors, prosecutor Angela Gray said: "The Crown case is that what Owen Hollern has tried to keep hidden for over 40 years is that he is a sexual predator and a rapist.

"He has for a significant period in his life abused young females."

'Frightened'

The first victim - who was 14 at the time - recalled being "scared" and "did not feel like she could say no".

The court heard how the other girl was abused from around the age of 11.

She also felt "frightened" after being groomed by Hollern.

Jurors heard the girl initially went to police in the late 80s, but then retracted the allegations.

It was not until earlier this year that officers came to both during an investigation.

Miss Gray asked jurors: "Why would these women come here to tell intimate details to strangers in those circumstances if they were not telling the truth?"

Hollern was also put on the sex offenders list indefinitely.

'Sexual predator'

Det Insp Scott Hamilton praised the victims for having the courage to come forward.

He said: "Hollern was a sexual predator who preyed on these young children, manipulated and abused them.

"Despite the appalling ordeal that he subjected these young girls to, they have had the courage to speak out about what happened to them and their information has been crucial to this investigation.

"I would like to thank them for their bravery in what must have been a daunting task to report him to police and then to have the courage to provide their evidence in court.

"Their testimonies have been vital to ensure that Owen Hollern is prevented from preying on other young children."

Det Insp Hamilton said the force is committed to supporting victims, no matter when offences took place, and urged any other victims of Holleran to come forward.

He added: "My thoughts remain with the victims and their loved ones.

"I hope that today's sentencing can bring them some solace in that person responsible for these despicable actions has now been held to account and they can move forward with their lives."

Anyone with information about about sexual crime is asked to police or Crimestoppers.

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