Glasgow & West Scotland

Child rapist Michael McNeill has 14-year jail term cut

A man who was jailed for 14 years for repeatedly raping a young brother and sister has had two years cut from his prison term on appeal.

Michael McNeill, 56, from Greenock, was convicted last August of raping the girl between 1982 and 1989 and her brother between 1981 and 1989.

His appealed the length of his sentence on the grounds it was "excessive".

Appeal judges agreed his low-risk of re-offending merited a lesser jail term and cut McNeil's sentence to 12 years.

Following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow, McNeill was also convicted of sexually abusing the girl and making sexual remarks towards her between May 1982 and December 1989.

Lives destroyed

The former shipyard worker was also found guilty of sexually abusing the boy between November 1981 and March 1989.

In evidence, McNeill's victims, who cannot be named, told how their lives had been destroyed by the abuse.

Jailing the 56-year-old, judge Lord Boyd told McNeill he seemed to regard the children as "sexual playthings" and that they had gone on to have considerable problems with drugs.

McNeill appealed the length of his sentence at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

His solicitor advocate Iain Paterson argued that the sentence imposed was "excessive".

He told the court: "It is readily accepted that these offences were extremely serious matters."

The solicitor advocate said the crimes against the children were perpetrated in the 1980s and McNeill had been in no further trouble since then.

Mr Paterson argued that the passage of time, a supportive family and ill health would point to a reduction in the risk of re-offending.

Lady Paton, who heard the appeal with Lord Mackay, said they would reduce McNeill's prison sentence to a 12-year term.

'Detrimental effect'

She said: "This was a horrific catalogue of abuse inflicted of both these young children over a protracted period of time.

"The effect on the children has been serious, detrimental and long-standing."

The judge said that taking into account the amount of time that has elapsed since the offending, the absence on any further offending, his age, health and supportive family, the risk of further crimes was now lower than if McNeill had been sentenced within a few years of them happening.

Lady Paton said that in the circumstances they had come to the view that the sentence imposed on McNeill was excessive.

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