Man who groomed and raped girls in Edinburgh jailed
A serial sex offender who groomed and abused girls as young as 12 after contacting them on social media has been jailed.
Gavin Scoular, 24, was given a 12-year sentence for carrying out seven rapes on four victims over three years.
Scoular, from Edinburgh, encouraged victims to send him sexual images and threatened to publish them online.
In 2018 he was found guilty of 27 offences against seven victims aged 12 to 17.
Scoular originally faced 132 charges involving alleged offences against more than 90 girls.
Earned their trust
However, after a legal challenge in which a judge upheld a claim that a police search was unlawful, he instead faced 34 charges at trial.
Scoular carried out crimes against the seven victims between 2010 and 2013 including rape, sexual assault, underage sex and grooming in Edinburgh - some after he was freed by a court on bail.
Lord Summers told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: "In most cases you coerced them into unwanted sexual activity by what we call online grooming."
The judge said he had used social media to make contact with girls and offered them affection and companionship at a time when some were vulnerable. But all Scoular wanted was sexual gratification and he discarded them afterwards.
The court heard that Scoular used Facebook, Snapchat and Skype to befriend schoolgirls and would chat to them online, sometimes for weeks, to earn their trust.
Advocate depute Steven Borthwick told the jury at Scoular's trial last year that he had indulged in sexual conversations with them knowing they were under the age 16, the age of consent.
Lord Summers pointed out that a full risk assessment was carried out on Scoular because of the possibility of imposing an Order for Lifelong Restriction on him but the report placed him in the medium risk category.
The judge originally selected a sentence of 18 years for Scoular but modified it to 12 years to take account of such factors as his age at the time of the offending.
He also ordered that Scoular should be kept under supervision for a further five- year period and placed him on the sex offenders' register indefinitely.
In 2014 Scoular was jailed at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after sending sexualised texts to young children.
Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson said Scoular's home was searched in 2013 and mobile phones and computer equipment was seized.
The proceedings in the sheriff court were based on evidence from the phones. But the computer equipment was later looked at resulting in a second inquiry which led to the further charges in the High Court.