Ex-soldier jailed for child rape in Edinburgh

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Thomas NelsonImage source, Police Scotland

A former soldier from Edinburgh has been jailed for 12 years for a "horrifying" series of offences against children including rape and allowing a child to be raped.

Thomas Nelson, 54, abused four young children over a 10-year period beginning in the mid 1990s.

The offences happened at houses in the Granton, Broomhouse and Wester Hailes and at an address in Clackmannanshire.

Nelson was put on the sex offenders' register.

A judge told Nelson at the High Court in Edinburgh: "The course of conduct in which you indulged towards the children in question was quite appalling."

'Grave nature'

Lord Uist said two of the six charges he was found guilty on were "particularly despicable".

The judge said: "They involved you providing on several occasions a girl aged between four and six to other men so they could have sexual intercourse with her and on one occasion you had sexual intercourse with her yourself."

Lord Uist told ex-chef Nelson: "You no doubt are aware that the offences of which you were convicted are of such a grave nature that they must attract a long prison sentence."

Nelson, formerly of Pilrig Street, Edinburgh, had denied two charges of raping the girl in 2002 and 2003, a charge of assaulting her by permitting and encouraging other males to have sex with her and rape her between 2001 and 2003 and a charge of physically assaulting her.

He was found guilty of all the offences apart from one rape charge on which the jury returned a not proven verdict.

He was also found guilty of assaulting two young boys, one of whom had a gun put to his head and hot spoons put on his skin. He was also convicted of an indecency offence against another girl when she was 13 or 14 in 2006 and 2007.

During his trial he admitted a further four charges of neglecting children who were exposed to drugs and weapons.

Lord Uist told jurors at the conclusion of the trial that it had a "particularly unpleasant and distasteful case".

The jury was played footage of the rape victim, who is now 19, being questioned earlier about her experiences at the hands of Nelson who she said terrified her.

Defence counsel David Nicholson told that court that Nelson had formerly served in Northern Ireland with the Army.

He said: "He struggled having left the Army and he thinks his addiction to drink started at that point. He has had serious alcohol problems ever since."

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