Galashiels man jailed for subjecting young sisters to repeated sex abuse

The High Court in Glasgow.
The High Court in Glasgow.

A man has been put behind bars for four years for subjecting two young sisters to repeated sexual abuse almost three decades ago.

Matthew Walley, now 46, was just a teenager when he began abusing the girls, aged four and six at the time, and he carried on preying on them for the following five years, the High Court in Glasgow heard.

Those lewd and libidinous offences were carried out on a regular basis in the Borders between January 1987 and April 1992.

Walley, of Winston Road in Galashiels, continues to deny being responsible for any sexual abuse despite being convicted after trial.

Sentencing Walley, judge Lord Stephen Woolman told him: “Your victims were two young girls.

“This was persistent and shameful sexual abuse, and you continue to deny it.

“Your conduct has continued to have a major impact on their lives.”

Walley abused one of his victims from the age of six until she was 11.

The woman, now 37, is a mother but has found it difficult to leave her child in the care of others for fear of what might happen, the court heard.

Eventually, after remaining silent for decades, she plucked up the courage to speak to others about what had happened to her as a child and reported it to the police.

Walley also abused the woman’s younger sister when she was aged between four and seven.

The court heard that Walley told the older girl that he loved her during the abuse, and she said that made her feel “special” at the time.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard told the jury that the episodes of abuse with the older girl appeared to become “almost a matter of routine”.

The advocate depute said that Walley had carried out sex acts on the girls for his own sexual gratification.

Walley, a former taxi driver, admitted in evidence during his trial that he had asked one of the girls “an inappropriate question”, but he denied responsibility for any sexual abuse.

Defence counsel Edith Forrest said: “This happened many years ago and he has not offended since.

“Mr Walley says he was taken into care when he was five and abused.

“He is assessed as posing a low risk of offending and is the main carer for a teenage boy.”

Ms Forrest urged Lord Woolman to consider imposing a non-custodial sentence on Walley, but he told her client the only appropriate punishment for his crimes was a prison term, adding: “You violated their childhood.”

Walley showed no emotion as he was led away from the courtroom to begin his sentence.