Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Children's home manager jailed for sex attacks in Fife

Trevor Francis Image copyright Police Scotland

An "upstanding citizen" given an MBE for services to a Fife town has been jailed for nine months for sexual abuse at a children's home.

Trevor Francis, 71, was found guilty of two offences of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards young girls and three assaults.

The children were in his care at the St Margaret's children's home in Elie, Fife, in the mid-1970s.

He was given an MBE at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles in 2012.

At Dundee Sheriff Court a sheriff told him: "This was a gross breach of trust."

Jekyll and Hyde character

Francis, a qualified nurse, took over as a manager at the home in 1973.

He was described as "creepy" and a "Jekyll and Hyde character" who subjected kids there to brutal physical attacks and sexual assaults.

Three girls - aged 14 to 16 at the time- told a jury Francis would creep into the girls' dormitory at the home in the night and sexually assault them.

A male resident at the home told how he had once run away and got as far as Kirkcaldy where he was picked up by police and taken back.

Francis took him into a laundry room and attacked him as punishment.

Other victims told how Francis slapped them in the face and beat them with a slipper in violent rages.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the jury: "He is a manipulative, violent and predatory person who abused the trust of these vulnerable people who he was paid to protect.

"But instead he perpetrated physical and sexual abuse towards them and managed to stay undetected because of his Jekyll and Hyde personality.

"The accused might seem mild mannered - an upstanding citizen, a family man.

"We are dealing with an intelligent, manipulative man who can turn on and off that predatory, violent behaviour."

Giving evidence in his own defence Francis said he was "relatively easy going" and claimed to have had a good relationship with the children at the home.

Francis, from Aberdour, had denied a total of nine charges on indictment.

However, a jury found him guilty by majority.

Defence solicitor Kerr Sneddon said: "He maintains his innocence. He therefore can't take responsibility for his actions."

Sheriff Alastair Brown also placed him on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

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