Child sex pervert a suspect in ice cream shooting

A CONVICTED paedophile is among the chief suspects in the shooting of ice cream man Jim Allison.

David King, 47, was forced to flee his home in Penicuik nine years ago after Mr Allison told the local community about his murky past. Detectives raided Mr King's home on Monday to search for the shotgun used in the attack before questioning him for six hours at Dalkeith police station.

A police source confirmed that he was among the three suspects investigators have quizzed over the shooting.

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Mr King was released without charge but remains under suspicion.

Today he contacted the Evening News to protest his innocence and tell of his plans to sue the police.

But he confirmed that he did hold a long-running grudge against Mr Allison, who was shot in the stomach at close range as he served sweets to children from his van in Strathesk Road last Monday at 6.30pm.

Married father-of-two Mr King was convicted of an indecent assault on a 12-year-old girl in a Penicuik house in November 1996.

He was found guilty of touching the girl inappropriately, of placing his hands around her and kissing her. He was fined 350 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Mr King claimed 57-year-old Mr Allison, himself convicted of rape in 1970, had made the conviction public, causing Mr King to be "run out of seven houses".

The suspect moved out of the town after a campaign by vigilante-style locals. His home was targeted on several occasions by the campaigners who daubed "paedophile" on a door.

He then moved to a rented bungalow in Livingston, but was again forced to leave after home-made "warnings" were posted through neighbours' letterboxes, and also to a nearby primary school.

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The owner of the bungalow said thugs brandishing knives had terrified a workman laying a patio they mistook for Mr King.

Mr King, who was reported to have served with the Parachute Regiment and the Black Watch, then moved to an estate for ex-soldiers in the west of Edinburgh - again upsetting local residents.

A neighbour told the Evening News at the time: "He is extremely offensive. People are very unhappy about him being here."

Mr King, who still lives in the Lothians, was identified as a suspect by detectives hunting for a motive behind the shooting and brought in for questioning.

He also appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday charged with offences unrelated to the shooting.

Mr King said: "Jim Allison went and told the papers I was a paedophile 12 years ago, so the police think I have a grudge against him.

"The cops smashed up my house, they went through everything. They even went through my granddaughter's teddies and the fish tank."

He said that police raided his house on Monday and took away items including his car and clothes, before bringing him in for questioning. A police spokeswoman said it would be "inappropriate" to comment and their inquiries remained ongoing.

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Mr King also claims that his disabled wife and 18-year-old son, who has special needs, were interviewed by detectives.

He denies carrying out the shotgun attack, but said he had a "rough idea" who was responsible. Two other suspects said to have a grievance against Mr Allison have also been questioned by police.

All three men were interviewed under caution and later released without charge, but each remains under suspicion.

Detectives have not ruled out other suspects being added to their list and are considering the possibility someone paid a hitman to shoot the father-of-two.

The incident room at Dalkeith police station has received a number of tip-offs from the public suggesting possible motives and suspects.

One theory, that a feud arose between Mr Allison and a local family following an assault on his son about a month ago, which later saw two men aged 22 and 21 charged, is still being examined.

Police are checking for any disputes Mr Allison may have had with neighbours and are still investigating possible links to his rape conviction from 36 years ago. Mr Allison - known locally as "Flash" - served 12 years for rape after being sentenced in 1970.

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