South Scotland

Hawick man jailed over 1970s sexual abuse

A man who sexually abused two young girls in the Scottish Borders more than 40 years ago has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Nigel Hartdegen, 67, of Hawick, committed the offences between 1973 and 1976.

He molested one girl from the age of six and abused another girl from the age of 10. The offences took place at an address in Hawick.

In addition to his jail term he was placed on the sex offenders' register.

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lady Carmichael told Hartdegen: "The jury convicted you of sex offences towards two young girls in the 70s over a significant period."

One of Hartdegen's victims told of how he exposed himself to her in his garden shed.

'Poor health'

He also pulled her dress up and, on another visit, rubbed himself up against her.

Hartdegen denied the offences, but was found guilty of three charges of lewd, indecent libidinous practices and behaviour against the two girls.

He was acquitted of three further charges of indecent assault, indecent exposure and indecent behaviour.

Hartdegen had 2017 convictions for indecent exposure and sexual assault, but on that occasion received a non-custodial sentence.

Defence counsel Tony Lenehan said: "Mr Hartdegen continues to maintain his position of innocence.

"He is 67 and in poor health.

"He is not assessed as being a high risk of reoffending."

'Report concerns'

NSPCC Scotland said abuse ruined childhoods and Hartdegen's actions would have "devastated his victims' lives into adulthood".

"This case shows that it is never too late for survivors to come forward, seek justice and receive the help and support they need," a spokesperson said.

"NSPCC Scotland works in schools and in the community to prevent abuse and neglect and anyone worried about a child or about past abuse can contact our helpline to report concerns."

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