South Scotland

Ettrickbridge man convicted of Helensburgh babysitting sex abuse

A man has been convicted of sexually abusing two girls he used to babysit and attempting to rape one of them in Helensburgh nearly 40 years ago.

Nigel Channon, 51, of Ettrickbridge, near Selkirk, had denied the offences committed between 1978 and 1984.

His victims were aged six and eight when the abuse began. One of them came forward to police two years ago.

Channon was remanded in custody at the High Court in Glasgow and sentence was deferred until next month.

The court heard how he would babysit the girls on occasion while their parents were out for the evening.

He would give them sweets before sexually abusing them.

They were told not to tell anyone what he was doing and Channon threatened them saying that if they did they would have to leave Helensburgh.

One of his victims came forward two years ago after talking to a friend.

She then made a statement to police revealing that Channon had abused her for six years.

She said: "I just thought - what if he's got grandkids now? I just thought - what if he's doing this to someone else?"

Video interviews

Channon, who worked as a credit agent, admitted that he babysat the girls, but claimed he only did it for a year. He denied sexually abusing them.

His trial at the High Court in Glasgow is believed to have made legal history in Scotland.

Instead of being quizzed in court by advocate depute Michael Meehan, video tapes of their police interviews were played in court.

Both women - who live in England now - came to court to confirm that the videos were in fact the interviews they had given to police.

They were each cross-examined by defence QC Derek Ogg after their videos were shown.

In evidence, Channon admitted he babysat for both children, but said: "I never abused anyone."

The video evidence played in court was available because police in England - unlike Scotland - interview all complainers on film.

It was agreed at a preliminary hearing heard earlier this year that the videos could be used in court as part of special measures

The Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, is presently carrying out a review looking at the possibility of using video evidence recorded by police in courts on a regular basis.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites