Seven people convicted in largest prosecution of child abuse ring in Scotland
Seven people involved in a child abuse ring have been convicted of a litany of charges, including gang rape, in what a judge has described as “the depths of human depravity”.
Iain Owens, 45; Elaine Lannery, 39; Lesley Williams, 41; Paul Brannan, 41; Scott Forbes, 50; Barry Watson, 47; and John Clark, 46, were all convicted of a string of sex crimes towards children, including rape and sexual abuse, in a Glasgow drug den where heroin and crack cocaine were used.
Four of the group – Owens, Lannery, Brannan and Williams – were found guilty of attempting to murder a child by pushing her into a microwave and trapping her in other places. An eighth person – Marianne Gallagher, 38 – was found guilty of assaulting a child and was granted bail.
A trial at the High Court in Glasgow, which lasted for eight weeks, heard evidence of systematic child sex abuse, described as “harrowing” by judge Lord Beckett.
Three of those on trial – Mark Carr, 49, Richard Gachagan, 46, and Leona Laing, 51 – were acquitted of all charges. The offences, involving four children, happened between 2012 and 2019.
Owens, Lannery, Brannan, Williams, Forbes, Watson and Clark were found guilty of taking part in the gang rape of a child. During the trial, the Crown said it would have been “off-the-scale devious” to concoct the allegations.
An allegation the accused used a Ouija board to “call on spirits and demons” causing the child victims to “believe that they could see, hear and communicate with spirits and demons” and making them take part in “witchcraft”, was dropped by prosecutors during the trial.
Iain Owens, 45, and Elaine Lannery, 39, were both convicted of attempted murder and multiple counts of assault, sexual assault, rape and causing a child to ingest drugs and alcohol. Lesley Williams, 41, was convicted of attempted murder, assault, rape and supplying drugs.
Paul Brannan, 41, was convicted of attempted murder, sexual assault, causing children to consume drugs and alcohol, rape and supplying class A drugs. Scott Forbes, 50, was found guilty of rape, while Barry Watson, 47, was found guilty of rape and sexual assault, and John Clark, 46, was found guilty of rape and sexual assault.
All 11 of those who stood trial were acquitted of killing dogs. Concluding the trial, judge Lord Beckett addressed those remaining in the dock.
He said: “None of you can now enjoy the presumption of innocence. You have all been found guilty of at least one serious charge.”
In discharging the jury, Lord Beckett thanked them for their “remarkable public service”. He said that given their “extraordinary service”, he was excusing each of them from ever again serving on a jury.
“It has been a very difficult trial to listen to,” Lord Beckett added. “It has been pretty unpleasant and shocking. It plunges to the depths of human depravity.”
Owens, Lannery, Williams, Brannan, Forbes, Watson and Clark will be placed on the sex offenders register, but the length of this will be determined at sentencing.
Lord Beckett remanded the seven in custody and adjourned the case until January for reports and sentencing.