Highlands & Islands

Man jailed for raping girl and abusing children

James MacLachlan Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption James MacLachlan denied the charges and claimed the accusations had been made up

A man convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl and abusing other children aged as young as six has been jailed for 10 years.

James MacLachlan, 49, of South Uist, carried out the assaults between 1989 and 2001 in the Western Isles.

A judge said the former fish farm worker's "unusually depraved sexual abuse" had a "profound effect" on his victims.

MacLachlan has been jailed at the High Court in Glasgow.

He had earlier been convicted of raping a 14 year-old girl and sexually abusing another girl of about the same age.

A third was as young as seven when she was attacked while two boys - one aged six - were also targeted.

Sentencing MacLachlan, judge Lord Beckettt said: "This was a grave course of conduct and unusually depraved sexual abuse.

"It has had a profound effect on the victims - an impact statement from one tells me in articulate and agonising detail how badly damaged her life has been because of you.

"Such is the gravity of these dreadful crimes, there is no alternative, but a significant custodial sentence."

'Utterly depraved'

MacLachlan, who denied the charges and claimed the accusations had been made up, will also be supervised for four years on his release.

The offences were reported to police in September 2015.

Police Scotland has praised MacLachlan's victims for coming forward and reporting the abuse.

Det Insp Donald Macdonald said: "James MacLachlan subjected his victims to horrendous abuse over a number of years.

"The strength and character of the witnesses bringing these utterly depraved acts to the attention of Police Scotland is commendable and it is thanks to them that he must now pay for his crimes."

Western Isles-based Ch Insp Gordon MacLeod added: "We welcome the conviction and sentencing of James MacLachlan today and reiterate that any report of abuse, no matter when or where the incident happened, will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated by police.

"There is no place in our communities for this behaviour and we will continue to do all we can to tackle sexual abuse."

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