A driving instructor who offered a young mother free tuition in return for sex and sexually assaulted two other women, narrowly avoided jail yesterday.
Alistair MacCorquodale phoned the 20-year-old in the early hours and told her, “When you next come we can have some fun for free lessons.”
MacCorquodale, 65, later insisted he was only offering to “give her some manoeuvres”.
A sheriff told him he did not believe him and branded his behaviour “quite distasteful and highly unpleasant”.
MacCorquodale’s victim, then 34 weeks pregnant, told Alloa Sheriff Court that following a cut-price “trial” lesson she had texted to say that she couldn’t afford a full-price session as she was on benefits and needed new glasses.
MacCorquodale, whom she’d booked through the Alva Driving School in Clackmannanshire, texted back, “Maybe we can sort something out” with an ATM sign and a type of emoji face that she thought had sexual connotations.
Then he phoned her in the night with the “fun for free lessons” offer.
She replied: “Sorry, I’m not that type of girl,” before telling her mum, Alva Driving School, and the police.
The next day MacCorquodale texted to apologise, saying: “I had been drinking. I had too much on board, but I’d love to see you.”
MacCorquodale denied sending an indecent electronic communication and insisted he was “just trying to help” but the woman told his summary trial: “I’m not going to have ‘fun’ with somebody for free driving tuition. I wouldn’t do anything sexual to have a few lessons for free.”
Defence agent Claire McCarron asked MacCorquodale what he had meant by the suggestion that they “could have some fun and you would give her some free driving lessons”.
He replied: “I offered to give her manoeuvres and then go for a lesson.”
The incident happened last October.
Sheriff Derek Reekie found MacCorquodale guilty of the Communications Act offence after a two-day summary trial.
He also found him guilty of sexually assaulting two other young women, then aged 20 and 21, by touching them during lessons on roads in the Clackmannanshiren area between October 2016 and July 2017. The women said he would tap or rub their thighs when they made mistakes or showed nervousness.
MacCorquodale was placed under supervision and on the sex offenders’ register for three years, with conditions that he attends a sex offenders’ treatment programme and has alcohol counselling.
Sheriff Reekie said: “This was particularly unpleasant.
“I make it clear to you that this is an alternative to custody.”
The court heard MacCorquodale was not directly employed by Alva Driving School, but the firm took bookings for him.
A spokesman for the school said: “MacCorquodale was just a sub-contractor. We stopped passing work on to him as soon as the allegations came to light. We couldn’t continue to have anything to do with someone like that.”
MacCorquodale quit driving instructing as soon as the allegations surfaced, and the court heard he would not be allowed to return to the trade.