Glasgow & West Scotland

Man convicted of raping schoolgirls 40 years on

High Court in Glasgow
Image caption Rapist Michael Martin was convicted more than 40 years after his crimes were committed

A man has been convicted of raping two schoolgirls more than 40 years ago.

Michael Martin, 59, of Irvine, Ayrshire raped the girls, then aged seven and 14, at various addresses in Glasgow between 1976 and 1978.

Martin was also convicted of sexually abusing a four-year-old girl in 1979. He denied the rapes and claimed his victims were "wicked and evil liars".

The women - now aged 47, 55 and 42 - gave evidence at Martin's trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

His victims told the court that when Martin abused them he told them to be quiet saying "Shh."

The jury heard they told no-one about their ordeal, with one of the victims saying: "Who would have believed us in the 1970s?"

The jury was told by the victim who was 14 when she was raped by Martin: "I told my mum, nothing came of it."

'Secretive way'

The abuse took place when Martin was looking after the children. His crimes were finally exposed when his victims decided to go to the police after 40 years.

Prosecutor Angela Gray said: "The sexual abuse of children is often committed in a secretive way and there are rarely eye-witnesses.

"These are different children of different ages, in different houses, but there are striking similarities in their evidence. The accused found and took opportunities."

Judge Lady Carmichael deferred sentence on Martin, who is behind bars, until next month at the High Court in Livingston.

She placed him on the sex offenders register.

The court heard that Martin has previous convictions, but the offences were of a different nature to his sex crimes.

Responding to news of Martin's conviction, a spokeswoman for children's charity NSPCC Scotland said: "Abuse ruins childhoods and Martin's appalling actions blighted his victims' lives into adulthood.

"It is entirely right that he has finally faced the consequences of his actions.

"This case shows once again that it is never too late for survivors of abuse to come forward and seek justice for what they endured as well as to receive the help and support they need."

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