Ex-braw lad sex attacker ordered to pay £600 compensation to victim

Edinburgh's Waverley railway station.
Edinburgh's Waverley railway station.

A sex attacker has been given a 150-hour community payback order and told to pay £600 compensation to his victim.

Former Galashiels braw lad John Keith Hardie, 61, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to assaulting the woman at the city’s Waverley railway station in July last year by grabbing her from behind, pressing himself against her and touching her breasts.

Sentence was deferred until this week for a social work report.

Hardie, of Beech Avenue, Galashiels, has a previous conviction for rape, the court heard.

He was jailed for five years after being found guilty by a jury after a trial at the High Court in Aberdeen in 1999 of raping a 29-year old woman in a hotel there.

Defence solicitor Mark Harrower told sheriff Donald Corke that on the day of the offence at the railway station his client had consumed “a significant amount of alcohol”, adding: “He does not normally drink a lot.”

The sex attack was not planned but was, rather, “a spur-of-the-moment incident”, he claimed.

CCTV footage showed Hardie following the woman, of a similar age to him, and he “had felt it was a bit of a prank” rather than anything more sinister, said Mr Harrower.

His client, he added, had not drunk alcohol since.

Hardie, a former tour guide, had lost a job delivering vehicles throughout the UK but had since found alternative work only paying half as much.

Mr Harrower said the case had been widely reported in the Borders, adding: “Everybody knows about this, and he has suffered public humiliation.”

Hardie is already on the sex offenders’ register because of his previous conviction, the court heard.

Sheriff Corke told Hardie: “This matter causes me great concern, given your record and the nature of the offence.

“It is only with some hesitation that I have decided to impose a direct alternative to imprisonment”.

He allowed Hardie to pay the £600 compensation at the rate of £100 a month.