A serial sex offender has been jailed for eight years after grooming underage girls during a catalogue of crimes against ten victims.
Matthew Watson’s crimes were branded “utterly despicable” by a judge at the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday.
The 36-year-old was earlier convicted of raping a 14-year-old amongst a total of 18 charges that included two other rapes and the sexual abuse of another young girl.
At his sentencing Lord Richardson said Watson’s behaviour was motivated by his desire to use the victims for his own sexual gratification and that it was clear his actions have had a profound and long-lasting effect on them.
The judge told him: “As you will surely recognise a lengthy period in custody is the only appropriate sentence I can pass on you to reflect your appalling conduct.
“You subjected each of these women to deeply distressing experiences,”.
Lord Richardson ordered that Watson should be under supervision for a further five years following his release from prison.
The court heard that Watson of Mannochmore in Elgin, Moray, was assessed as posing a high risk of reconviction for sexual offending.
Lord Richardson said that a background report prepared on the rapist revealed that he continued to deny responsibility for the most serious crimes he was convicted on.
Watson was earlier found guilty of five offences by a jury, including three charges of rape and one of assault with intent to rape.
He admitted a further 13 offences, including indecent conduct and underage sex.
The offending occurred between 2005 and 2018 and took place in Moray, Elgin and Inverness.
One girl told police that shortly after her 14th birthday she had a friend’s request made to her by Watson through Facebook.
His messages to the schoolgirl quickly became flirtatious and then became increasingly sexual.
He asked for naked pictures and as a result of his persistence she sent him a topless photograph. Watson responded with pictures of his naked torso and penis.
He went on to pick the child up in his car and drove her to a wooded area where he sexually abused her on two occasions.
Another 14-year-old was kissed, molested and subjected to rape in a car by Watson at a location in Inverness.
Defence counsel Herbert Kerrigan QC said: “He requires to avail himself of all opportunities which are given within prison to engage in a pattern of rehabilitation.
“He must appreciate that he cannot be involved, not simply with those under 16, but with girls and young women of tender age.”
Watson was told that he will be placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
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