Aberdeenshire man sentenced at High Court in Edinburgh for a number of serious sexual offences across a four year period
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AN Aberdeenshire man has been jailed for serious sexual offences, which took place in the North East over four years.
James Freeman (50) who repeatedly raped and sexually abused a child, has been jailed for his “gross and prolonged” conduct.
Freeman was given seven years after a hearing on Tuesday at the High Court in Edinburgh by judge Simon Collins QC. He had previously been found guilty of the offences committed at various addresses in the North East of Scotland between 2013 and 2017.
The court heard that he first sexually assaulted the girl at a caravan park in Sutherland when she was aged just 10 or 11-years-old.
He raped the child on various occasions at addresses in Aberdeen, Banff and the north of Scotland when she was aged just 11 or 12.
He also raped her, on various occasions, while she was between 13 and 15-years-old, at locations in Banff, Nairn and even a derelict building in Portsoy.
The court heard how Freeman pushed and held the child down on a bed, tied her arms together, blindfolded her and raped her.
On Tuesday July 5, Judge Collins told Freeman, who observed proceedings via video link from jail, that he had no other option but to send him to prison.
Ordering Freeman to be also supervised by the authorities for three years following his release from custody, Judge Collins said: “You were convicted of three charges of sexual assault following trial. The jury heard from the complainer in the case and it is plain that they accepted her account.
“Your actions showed that you groomed her and your actions also show that you are responsible for a gross and prolonged violation of the position of trust that you had found yourself in.
“Clearly a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal available to this court.”
At earlier proceedings, Freeman had denied the charges against him and did not react as the jury returned their verdicts.
However, witnesses saw him grinning and laughing as court room security officers put handcuffs on him moments before taking him to prison.
The court had also heard defence advocate Bert Kerrigan QC say that his client had a history of mental health problems and had previously been treated in hospital for his issues.
He added: “If there was some sort of time machine available, he would use it to ensure that he would not do the actions to which he was convicted of.
“However, there is no time machine and he must face up to what he has done.”
On Tuesday, Mr Kerrigan urged judge Collins to consider Freeman’s expressions of remorse when passing sentence.
He added: “I had a Zoom consultation with Mr Freeman recently and he was emphatic in his concern for his conduct which caused so much upset to his victim.
“That was in my submission not a fake expression of remorse - that was a genuine expression of remorse.
“His expression of remorse was not made simply for his situation but out of a sense that he is responsible for his own conduct.”
However, Judge Collins told Freeman that jail was the only option available to him and that he would spend the rest of his life on the Sex Offenders Register.
Police Scotland have welcomed the sentencing. Detective Sergeant Frank McDermott said: “I would like to commend the victim who came forward to report Freeman’s crimes and displayed great courage in speaking out.
“We treat all reports of sexual crimes seriously and sensitively and I would encourage any victims of sexual crimes to come forward and report the circumstances, in confidence, to Police, knowing we will investigate thoroughly.
“Anyone who wants to report a crime can contact Police Scotland by calling 101.”