Child rapist who pushed mother and son towards Arthur’s Seat cliff edge wins appeal to have jail sentence reduced

A convicted child rapist who pushed a mother and her son towards a cliff edge in a historic attack at Arthur’s Seat has had his sentence reduced by two years following an appeal.

Daniel Wilson was found guilty following trial of assaulting his then partner as she held her son - aged between two and four at the time - and repeatedly pushing her towards a cliff edge causing her to slip, holding them at the cliff edge and repeatedly threatening to push them off to the danger of their lives. The incident took place on an occasion between 1996 and 1998.

Wilson was also convicted of assaulting the boy by punching and slapping him and repeatedly striking him on the head and body to his injury, at addresses in Edinburgh on various occasions between 1994 and 1998.

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He was acquitted of an allegation that he repeatedly sexually assaulted the little boy who was at the centre of Arthur's Seat assault.

Wilson was sentenced to five years in prison at the High Court in Livingston in March 2020.

He is also currently serving a 15 year prison term for repeatedly raping a child under the age of 15 and downloading child pornography. This sentence was imposed for crimes he committed during a spell living in Wales. His name will remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

A written opinion of the court delivered by Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice General, in relation to an appeal from Wilson against his conviction and sentencing over the historical offences in Edinburgh, has concluded that the length of sentence should be reduced to three years.

The appeal judges – also including Lord Menzies and Lord Pentland – recognised that these offences at the time were carried out when Wilson was in his early 20s and that he had a limited record - a fine for a contravention of the social security regime - and considered it “unlikely” these offences would have been dealt with in the High Court.

Daniel Wilson.

His report said: “In all the circumstances, the court considers that the sentence was excessive. It will substitute for the five year consecutive term, one of three years consecutive. To that extent the appeal against sentence is sustained.”

Conviction appeal rejected

Wilson, who was 47 when sentenced last year, also appealed against his conviction over the historic offences on the grounds it had not been a fair trial in terms of Article 6 of the European Convention.

The focus of the appeal was that the woman concerned with the Salisbury Crags assault had submitted written evidence to the trial “second hand,” as she was unfit or unable to give evidence from the witness box where she could have been cross examined, that the boy who testified in court last year as a man could not have remembered events at the age of three or less at the time, and that his mother had “fed” his memories.

Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice General. Picture: Lesley Donald

However, this element of the appeal was rejected by the judges who also highlighted that the trial judge, Lord Kinclaven, had repeatedly asked the jury to apply “extreme caution” on her written evidence and that his directions were “heavily in favour” of the appellant.

The report also highlighted that the woman’s statements had been taken by a police officer and signed by a witness and that her son was also cross examined in court.

During Wilson’s trial in 2019, the jury heard evidence that he subjected the boy to repeated abuse when he was a very young child.

Although his victim was very young at the time of the assaults, he still remembers what took place and had told adults about what happened to him.

The jury was told that the youngster remembered Wilson getting angry when he went out with his mother to Arthur’s Seat when he was in a pram and buggy.

His mother told police about the accused repeatedly pushing her while she was carrying her son in the park.

She told detectives she was terrified about falling off because she was at the cliff edge.

The report delivered by Lord Carloway, published this week, stated the location of the historic offences as Salisbury Crags or Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park.

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