Members of 'depraved' child abuse ring 'facing possible life sentences'

The five men and two women were branded a potential danger to the public and young children by a judge on Thursday.

Seven members of ‘depraved’ child abuse ring in Glasgow ‘facing possible life sentences’ STV News

Seven members of a depraved child sex ring have been told that they face a possible life sentence.

The five men and two women were branded a potential danger to the public and young children by a judge as they returned to the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday to be sentenced.

However, the judge told each of them that he will send them for a risk assessment before passing sentence.

This includes the possibility of giving them an order for lifelong restriction.

They were convicted in November last year of horror abuse after a harrowing nine-week trial.

Jurors had returned verdicts on 21 charges which occurred between April 2012 and June 2019.

Iain Owens, 45, was convicted of 18 charges including rape and attempted murder. He was also guilty of other sex offences and class A drug supply.

Elaine Lannery, 39, was convicted of the rape among the 12 charges on which she was found guilty.

Lesley Williams, 42, was convicted of five charges including rape.

Paul Brannan, 40, meantime was guilty of seven charges including rape.

Lannery, Williams and Brannan had also been convicted of attempted murder.

Scott Forbes, 50, was convicted of rape and sexual assault.

Barry Watson and John Clark, both 47, joined them in the dock having been found guilty of rape.

Marianne Gallagher was cleared of sex abuse, but was convicted of being part of an assault on one girl.

The 39-year-old was spared jail and was ordered to be of good behaviour for 12 months.

Judge Lord Beckett said: “I’ve considered the circumstances of the grave and repeated crimes.

“Some of you have been convicted of sexually abusing three children and some of you two children. 

“All of you were convicted of sexual abuse of a young child in the most appalling circumstances.

“All the crimes you were convicted of are serious. All the sexual cases are of extreme gravity.

“Parliament has said that if the court considers a criteria may be met then it must make a risk assessment order.

“This is to identify how to protect the public from serious harm.

“In light of the nature of the charges you are convicted, all the evidence led and the information on each of you it appears to me that with the nature of the circumstances of this offence, you may, at liberty, seriously endanger members of the public at large particularly younger children. 

“I’m close to concluding the risk criteria may be met in which I will be bound to impose a risk assessment order.

“It is not inevitable that an order of lifelong restriction may be imposed on all or any of you. You are not all in the same position and the court will consider the case of each of you and your own circumstances and the charges you were convicted.

“Understand each of you face a substantial prison sentence and these may be extended.”

The case mainly centred on three children – two girls and a boy. Another girl was listed in a charge, but she was not physically or sexually harmed.

The gang all denied being paedophiles or physically harming the children. Some, however, confessed to openly taking drugs in front of the youngsters.

In her closing speech, advocate depute Ms Harper said the children had been victims of a “scary and confusing world” and that they would had to have been “off the scale devious” to have made up the abuse.

Owens KC Gary Allan said: “His position on oath always has been that these allegations of sexual misconduct were wholly without substance.

“He does not accept in any respect his guilt of these charges of misconduct set out in the indictment.”

Ronnie Renucci KC, defending Lannery, meantime told the court: “It has been brought home to her the impact of drug misuse in a wider scale rather than the single person who is taking it.”

Michael Anderson KC said Williams maintains her position of innocence.

Brannan’s defence KC Tony Lenehan told the judge: “On the evidence, his involvement was through drugs rather than sexual convenience.”

Tony Graham KC, defending Watson, said: “He gave evidence at trial and you heard the position in relation to the allegation.

“He was convicted on the face of the evidence and he maintains his position of denial.”

Forbes’s KC Jim Wallace stated “His position from the outset is that he is innocent of all of the charges he was convicted.”

Iain McSporran KC, defending Clark, told the hearing: “You heard him give evidence that he categorically professes his innocence.

Gallagher’s advocate Thomas Ross KC said: “The charge is serious due to the age of the victim – more serious allegations were deleted by the jury.”

Mark Carr, 50, Richard Gachagan, 46, and Leona Laing, 51, had also stood trial last year, but were acquitted of all the charges they faced.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in