Selkirk pensioner jailed for sex attacks on young girls

Sex attacker William Wilkinson.
Sex attacker William Wilkinson.

A pensioner was jailed for eight years yesterday after being convicted of repeated sex attacks on two young girls, one of them described as vulnerable, in the Borders in the 1990s.

William Wilkinson, now 79, targeted the girls at locations in Galashiels and Stow between 1993 and 2000, a court heard.

The High Court in Edinburgh.

The High Court in Edinburgh.

A judge sitting at the High Court in Edinburgh told Wilkinson: “I recognise that at the age of 79 you have not been sent to prison before for any significant length of time.”

Lord John Beckett said he took into account the pensioner’s age and that he was suffering from various medical conditions but said that a lengthy spell behind bars was unavoidable.

The judge told him: “You have been convicted of a serious course of criminal conduct, sexually abusing two young and vulnerable children.”

He added that one of Wilkinson’s victims was especially vulnerable because of her learning difficulties.

Lord Beckett said his crimes were so serious that it was necessary to impose a substantial prison sentence on the child sex offender to mark their gravity and to act as a deterrent to others.

He also told Wilkinson, of Ladyschaw Drive in Selkirk, that he would remain on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.

The pensioner had earlier denied two charges of indecency against a girl when she was between nine and 15 and raping her when she was aged between nine and 11.

He also pleaded not guilty to indecently assaulting the second girl when she was aged between 11 and 12.

Wilkinson was found guilty of all those charges after trial, however.

He locked the first victim in a portable cabin and took her to secluded areas to carry out sex acts on her and make her perform sexual activity on him, an ordeal she found so horrific it caused her to be sick, the court heard.

He also indecently assaulted the second girl at a golf range in the Borders, the hearing was told.

Defence counsel Victoria Dow told the court that Wilkinson still maintained he was innocent despite the findings against him, saying: “He continues to deny the offences.”

She accepted that he had a previous conviction for a similar offence and asked the judge to take account of his age and state of health when sentencing him for his crimes.