South Scotland

Selkirk man, 79, jailed over abuse and rape

A 79-year-old man from the Borders has been jailed for eight years for abusing and raping a vulnerable girl two decades ago.

William Wilkinson, of Selkirk, also indecently assaulted a second girl at a golf range.

He had denied the charges but was found guilty of committing the offences.

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Beckett told him that the crimes were so serious that it was necessary to impose a substantial prison sentence.

He said: "I recognise at the age of 79 you have not been sent to prison before for any significant length of time."

Lord Beckett said he had taken into account the pensioner's age and that he was suffering from various medical conditions.

However, he told him: "You have been convicted of a serious course of criminal conduct sexually abusing two young and vulnerable children."

Denied offences

He said one of Wilkinson's victims was especially vulnerable because of her learning difficulties.

He told him that in addition to his jail term he would be on the sex offenders register for life.

Wilkinson had earlier denied two charges of indecency against a girl when she was between nine and 15 and raping her when she aged between nine and 11 and indecently assaulting the second girl when she between 11 and 12, but was found guilty.

He locked the first victim in a portable cabin and took her to secluded areas where he carried out sex acts on the child.

The offences took place in the Borders between 1993 and 2000.

Defence counsel Victoria Dow told the court: "He continues to deny the offences."

She accepted that he had a previous conviction for a similar offence and asked the judge to take account of his age and state of health in sentencing for the historical offending.

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