APPEAL judges have refused to cut a 16-year jail sentence imposed on a notorious paedophile who subjected youngsters to a catalogue of sexual abuse while acting as a care worker at Edinburgh children’s homes.
Scotland’s senior judge, the Lord Justice General, Lord Cullen, told Gordon Knott: "While the sentence imposed was a severe one, it was not an excessive one in the circumstances."
Knott, 48, was jailed in 1997 after being convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh after a major trial into sex abuse at children’s homes in the city.
He was found guilty of ten sex offences, committed against eight boys and a girl.
The crimes were committed between 1973 and 1983 when Knott held posts at Clerwood and Glenallan Children’s Homes in Edinburgh.
Knott, formerly of Boswall Square, Edinburgh, was also convicted of possessing indecent pictures of children. He began work in the care sector as a nursery assistant, but rose through the ranks to become the officer in charge at the Glenallan Home.
The judge at Knott’s trial, Lord Bonomy, said he had abused vulnerable children over whom he had a position of trust.
Lord Bonomy added a number of Knott’s victims, who are now adults, continued to be disturbed by what happened when they were in care and had found forming and maintaining relationships extremely difficult.
Knott appealed against the judge’s 16-year sentence, claiming it was excessive.
Knott’s counsel, Joseph Barr, told the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh yesterday that Knott accepted his offences were "despicable and disgusting".
Mr Barr added: "He deeply regrets the long-term effects his behaviour may have had on the victims."
The defence counsel said Knott began offending when he was 19.
Mr Barr said Knott married in 1979 and, after his son was born two years later, began to realise what he was doing was wrong.
Knott voluntarily stopped his abusive behaviour, although he continued to work in the childcare sector for a few years.
He remained at Glenallan until 1986, but later left the profession and became a computer systems analyst.
Lord Cullen, who heard the appeal with Lord Cameron and Lord Marnoch, said: " The conduct of which he [Knott] was found guilty was of a very grave character."
The senior judge said it was made even more serious by the length of time over which the offences were committed and the "gross breach of trust" involved.