Paedophile guilty of raping twin nieces jailed

The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL

The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL

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A MAN who raped his twin nieces and forced them to commit other sex acts has been jailed for ten years.

John McCallum, 53, abused Rachel Steadwood and Tracy Brown on various occasions between 1978 and 1987 at different addresses in Scotland.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that the girls were just five years old when McCallum began his reign of terror.

Earlier this month, a trial heard that the sisters – who have waived their right to anonymity – kept quiet for years about a catalogue of abuse.

He was convicted and sentence had been deferred in order for the court to obtain reports about his character.

Yesterday, the High Court heard how McCallum, who was represented by one of Scotland’s top defence lawyers, still denies his guilt. He claims that Frances McMenamin QC and her assistants “failed to act properly”, and that female jurors were prejudiced against him.

Minutes before the hearing began, members of McCallum’s family stood outside the High Court with placards proclaiming his innocence.

But judge Lord Boyd told him that he had no other option but to send him to prison.

He added: “I note from the social inquiry report that you believe you were convicted because of the presence of young women on the jury and because your defence team failed to act properly.

“However, you were very ably represented by senior and junior counsel. The offences for which you have been convicted of are grave ones and must be marked by a substantial period of imprisonment.”

During his trial, the court heard how the offences first came to light 15 years ago when one of his victims started to experience flashbacks.

She told her doctor and asked for counselling – eventually reporting McCallum to the authorities.

The two women gave evidence against McCallum during a week-long trial.

They told the jury how the father of two molested them during visits to a travellers’ site in Edinburgh, at a house in Loanhead, Midlothian, and elsewhere.

The trial heard how McCallum, of Loanhead, drove a lorry looking for work laying tarmac and that some of the abuse took place in the cab.

One of the girls – Tracy Brown – said that on other occasions, while selling logs for firewood, he would take advantage of her in his van. The trial also heard that one of the sisters was just six when McCallum raped her on a caravan bed in 1979 or 1980. Tracy’s sister Rachel told how she was raped between August 1980 and August 1982 when she was just seven or eight.

McCallum, who was president of a children’s boxing club, denied the charges

As the jury returned their verdicts, he interrupted and said he wanted to take a lie detector test.

Speaking after the case, Tracy, a businesswoman who owns a cafe, said: “He robbed me of a childhood and he’s robbed me of having proper relationships.

“I’ve been on medication, like antidepressants, for most of my life. There’s been drugs and bulimia and I’ve even tried to take my own life. That’s what he did to me.

“But now I want to move on. I have my husband, my kids, my business. He’s not in charge of our lives anymore.”

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