A VILLAGE policeman who sexually abused primary school girls in quiet Scottish fishing communities where he was supposed to be keeping the peace, was jailed for four years and four months today.
Iain Reid, who spent over 20 years in Fife Constabulary, rising from local bobby to detective constable, targeted three girls aged six to 12 while living in a police house in Buckhaven, Fife, and later in Leven, where he bought his own home two-and-a-half miles along the coast.
Reid, now a grandfather aged 66, lured the children with sweets, a chance to pat his dog, or in the case of one young girl, offers of lettuce for her rabbit.
Sheriff Craig Caldwell said he broke the trust placed in him as community policeman to carry out “protracted, sustained, and systematic” abuse of the girls, whom he “enticed” into his home.
He said the girls, now all “successful women”, were “scarred” by what Reid did.
He told Reid: “I may say it’s a testament to their character and fortitude, that they were able to confront you with their evidence of your cynical abuse.
“No-one could but be impressed by the quiet dignity and candour with which each of them spoke of your conduct.
“Nonetheless, despite the fortitude they now display, and the successful women that they now are, they clearly continue to bear the scars of your conduct.”
After a five day trial, a jury of ten women and five men at Falkirk Sheriff Court found Reid guilty of three charges of lewd and libidinous conduct - one of the charges aggravated by abduction - over a 17 year period between 1980 and 1997.
Sheriff Caldwell said it had “not been difficult” for the jury to dismiss Reid’s defence, which was that the charges were the result of conspiracy and fabrication between the witnesses.
He added: “Indeed it wouldn’t be difficult for anyone who heard the evidence to dismiss the account which you put forward.”
He added: “You abused the trust which was reposed in you by the community, taking into account that this abuse was carried out while you were a community police officer.”
During his trial last month one of Reid’s three young victims, now 46, recalled how he abused her in one of the bedrooms at the police house.
Another of his victims, now 35, told jurors she could still remember the smell of his smokey breath as he pulled her towards her and whispered in her ear, before performing an act of sexual abuse and then -- thereby committing the extra crime of abduction -- blocking her exit from the room and demanding a kiss in return for her freedom. In one particularly sordid episode between 1983 and 1987, when she was between three and seven years old, he invited her into the police house in Buckhaven to play with his collie dog, then repeatedly threw treats at her as she sat on the floor in such a way that the animal had to “sniff around” her clothed private parts in order to eat them.
She said that she could still remember the animal’s fur on her legs, but had tried to block out the 1980s incidents and did not tell police about them until they contacted her last year.
His third child victim - who was eventually to bring him to justice - said Reid used to invite her into his house which she passed on her way back from school.
Now 30, she described a series of incidents of sexual abuse, which happened “perhaps twice a month” from the time she was six for five or more years, at his later home in Sillerhole Road, Leven in the early to mid 90s.
She said Reid would abuse her while he sat her on his lap; while he lifted her up to “count the soldiers” in an old Army picture on his sideboard; in his kitchen while he made her count sweets in the cupboard; and even on his stairs.
A keen child gymnast, she was sometimes made to do handstands by Reid, who then touched her inappropriately while she was upside down. Sometimes he abused her as she wore her gym kit.
The abuse continued until she was in Primary 7 in 1997 and told her best friend. Together they went to see the school nurse. Police and social work were called in, but Reid was not prosecuted at the time, because there were no other witnesses.
She said she reported the childhood abuse again when she was 20 and about to leave home, because she though it was “unfinished business”, but again no action was taken because of lack of corroboration.
In about 2009, she heard by chance of another girl who said Reid had abused her, but did nothing until 2014 when out of the blue Reid made a phone call to her mother.
The court was not told the details of the call, but the woman, now a local government official, said its content was enough to make her go to the police in one final - and finally successful - attempt to “get justice for herself and others”.
Solicitor-advocate Krista Johnston, defending, said Reid was now a sick man, with depression and heart trouble.
Reid, who was also placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely, showed no emotion as he was led away.