Former captain of Waverley paddle steamer jailed for sexually abusing teenage boys

The former captain of the Waverley paddle steamer was today jailed for seven years after being convicted of sexually abusing three teenage boys on board the boat more that 30 years ago.

The former captain of the Waverley paddle steamer was today jailed for seven years after being convicted of sexually abusing three teenage boys on board the boat more that 30 years ago.

David Neill, 75, of Galston, Ayrshire, still continues to deny the charges against him.

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At the High Court in Glasgow Judge Tom Hughes QC sentenced Neill and said: “You sat through the trial and showed no remorse or regret.

Waverley paddle steamer

“You were actually grooming them and used them for your own selfish evil sexual gratification..”

Judge Hughes told Neil that he showed “predatory sexual behaviour” and left his victims with 'horrendous lifelong consequences.”

The judge said that Neill's behaviour was a gross breach of trust of the victims and their families and also of his employers.

The victims, who are all now in their 50's had to relive their ordeals at the hands of Neill, who captained the Waverley from 1975 to 1997. Built in 1946, she sailed from Craigendoran on the Firth of Clyde to Arrochar on Loch Long until 1973.

The court heard that Neill lured all three teenagers in with the promise of jobs on the ship and then a career in the Navy.

Judges Hughes: “The complainers gave evidence of how they had come from difficult backgrounds and areas of low employment and were excited at the prospect of employment.”

Defence QC John Scullion said: “Mr Neill continues to deny the offences and as such there is nothing I can say about the offences. He is is now 75 and may not survive a lengthy period of prison.”

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The four charges of indecent assault were committed between March 1982 and September 1987.

Police began investigating Neill after one of the victims came forward.

A 51-year-old man said Neill sexually abused him while he was working as a steward on the ship and then claimed it was a joke.

He said: “ I woke up and the captain was playing with my penis and testicles. I told him to f*** off.”

“ I was very confused and full of shame. The captain said it was just a joke. I didn't find it funny.”

He claimed that on another night he was drunk and sleeping in the captain's cabin and again woke to find Neil sexually abusing him.

The man said that he suffers from 'flashbacks” including memories of the way Neill smelled which he described as being 'sweat and Old Spice.”

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A 53-year-old man also told the jury he was sexually assaulted by Neill.

He said he worked as a galley boy on the ship for a couple of months before jumping ship in Fort William. The witness, who gave evidence via a video link from Canada, said Neill also abused him on a car journey between his home in Ayrshire and the Waverley, which was docked in Glasgow.

The witness also claimed Neill would try to touch his testicles from behind as he walked past and would frequently say: "Show us your tadger."

Another 51-year-old said that Neil asked him if he was a virgin and added: “He said I was to pretend he was a woman.”

He said he was twice abused in the captain's cabin. He said he woke up to find Neil lying beside him.

Neill, 75, from Galston, Ayrshire, did not give evidence, but denied the allegations and told police : “I'm aghast at it all, I really am. There is no way I would be interested in sex with any males.”

He was placed on the sex offenders' register.

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Neill was jailed for three years in 1998 at Glasgow Sheriff Court after being found guilty of abusing five teenage boys in his cabin.

The offences took place in the captain's cabin while the Waverley was on trips on the Clyde or berthed at Anderston Quay, Glasgow, between 1981 and 1987.