A TEENAGE victim of a sickening sex assault was left terrified her attacker would strike again after he was left to roam the streets of Wester Hailes while awaiting trial.
The girl, who had just turned 15 at the time of the assault in April 2011, said her life had been ruined by the schoolboy “monster”.
Her attacker, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was free despite having already been charged with sexually assaulting two other girls when he was aged just 14.
He is only just behind bars after he was convicted of the three assaults by a jury last week – nearly three years after the first attack.
The fearful teenager said she would never have suffered her ordeal if he had been locked up when he was charged with raping one girl and indecently assaulting another in April and November 2010.
She said: “It has ruined my life, I still have panic attacks and dream about it at night.
“My hair was falling out because of the stress. The waiting has probably been the hardest thing, I knew he was walking the streets when he should have been locked up.
“I bumped into him on the street a couple of weeks ago and it was terrifying. I didn’t know what to do.
“I was really frightened. I was in beside my mum that night because I thought he would be coming in my room. I have been living in fear.”
The victim, who is now 17, said she had since been approached by two other girls who claim he tried to indecently assault them.
But she said she did not know if any further complaints have been received by police.
The girl’s mum said she has watched her daughter turn from a once confident and outgoing child into a trembling recluse. She said the schoolboy should never have been released and said the justice system was “out of date” for deeming him a child.
She said: “If he hadn’t been released he could never have done this to my daughter.
“The police told me they were powerless to do anything because he was under 16.
“It’s gone on for nearly three years since the first attack and the community has had to live, knowing he’s out there.
“My daughter will never go out on her own and I imagine all mums in the community didn’t want to let their daughters out.”
The serial sex attacker will be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow next month.
Child offenders in Scotland are dealt with under the Children’s Hearings system. Legal issues are handled by the courts but the decision on punishment is left to the hearing.
Under-16s are considered for prosecution in court only for serious crime such as murder or assault.
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “Considering the age and vulnerability of his victims, it’s a tragedy this case has taken nearly two years to come to a conclusion.
“We need to do better for all victims, particularly victims of rape and sexual assault.”
A spokeswoman for Rape Crisis Scotland said: “While significant efforts have been made to improve criminal justice processes in recent years, this issue still needs to be addressed if low rates of reporting and conviction, and women’s experience of and confidence in the criminal justice system, are to be improved.”