Retired Fife police officer to be sentenced for abusing teenage air cadets

Quin appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson/JP
Quin appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson/JP

A retired police officer who sexually abused teenage air training corps cadets more than 30 years ago faces a jail term.

Colin Fowler plied the youngsters with drink and molested and assaulted them at his then home in Anstruther, Fife.

Fowler, 76, had denied carrying out the attacks on two former cadets, but was unanimously found guilty of the offences following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

He was convicted of assaulting one teenager by supplying him with alcohol and carrying out sex acts at a house in East Green, Anstruther, in July and August 1972.

He was also found guilty of assaulting a second teenager between July 1977 and July 1982, beginning when the victim was aged 13, by giving him drink and carrying out sex acts.

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Advocate depute Alan Cameron asked one of the victims if he had considered reporting the abuse to the police at the time. He replied: “He was a policeman. He seemed to know everyone in the police anyway.”

The other victim said: “I was in a very confused state of mind at that time. Everything said by Colin Fowler was that I was wanting it. An adult was telling me that I was in the wrong.

“I felt responsible. I felt guilty and I carried that guilt for a long, long time.”

Fowler was working as an officer with Fife Constabulary at the time of the offences and also served as a leader to cadets at RAF Pitreavie, near Dunfermline.

One victim, now aged 62, said that during his time at the cadets Fowler became an officer and would offer him a lift home.

The man said: “I saw him as a guiding adult if you like, someone to look up to.”

He said Fowler was a stocky, sturdy built individual at the time and added: “He certainly had quite an imposing demeanour in terms of his stature.”

Fowler invited him to stay at his home in Anstruther from about the age of 14. The victim said: “It was during that time I was introduced to whisky.”

But he said Fowler began touching him and he said: “Stop. What are you doing?”. But Fowler told him: “You wanted it. You wanted it last night.”

The man said: “I was anxious, concerned, afraid. I really wasn’t clear what was happening.”

He said Fowler continued to touch him and went on to perform a sex act on him.

Mr Cameron asked if he had wanted Fowler to do these things and he replied: “Definitely no. I was petrified. I was in a state of fear and shock. I just froze, I didn’t know what to do. I knew if he got angry things would get a hundred times worse.”

Fowler’s other victim, a former Army veteran, said he had later been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and went to see a psychiatrist.

The man, 54, said: “It was during that time I first made mention of being abused.”

He said that Fowler often give him a lift home after attending the cadets and befriended his parents.

He said he was caught stealing and taken to the police station but Fowler took him home and nothing happened about the incident.

Fowler would take him to Anstruther for fishing trips and overnight stays but began to subject him to abuse.

He said: “He was a big man, not in height, but in breadth - a really solid guy.” The victim said he was subjected to serious sexual assaults a couple of times when Fowler came home drunk and angry.

Fowler, of Harbourlea, Anstruther, had denied the sexual abuse and told his defence counsel, Ronnie Renucci QC, that when he learned of the allegations by one of the victims he was “shocked, amazed and incredulous”.

Following the verdicts Mr Renucci asked for Fowler’s bail to be continued to prepare a background on him ahead of sentencing next month.

The defence counsel said: “I appreciate, as does he, that he has been found guilty of two very serious matters.”

The trial judge, Lord Brailsford, placed Fowler on the sex offenders’ register and agreed to grant him bail.