04 January 2024

Child abuse ring members who plunged to ‘depths of depravity’ face sentencing

04 January 2024

Seven people who were convicted of being part of a Scottish child abuse ring which was described as plunging the “depths of human depravity” are due to be sentenced.

An eight-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow heard evidence of physical and sexual child abuse, described as “harrowing” by judge Lord Beckett.

On Thursday, Iain Owens, 45; Elaine Lannery, 39; Lesley Williams, 41; Paul Brannan, 41; Scott Forbes, 50; Barry Watson, 47; and John Clark, 47, face jail after being convicted of sexually abusing children in a Glasgow drug den where heroin and crack cocaine were used.

Four of the group: Owens, Lannery, Brannan and Williams, were found guilty of attempting to murder a child by pushing her into a microwave and trapping her in other places.

All seven were found guilty of taking part in the gang rape of a child.

An eighth person, Marianne Gallagher, 38, was found guilty of assaulting a child and was granted bail.

The offences, involving three children, happened between 2012 and 2019.

Owens and Lannery were also convicted of multiple counts of assault, sexual assault and causing a child to ingest drugs and alcohol.

It has been pretty unpleasant and shocking. It plunges to the depths of human depravity

Williams was also found guilty of assault and supplying drugs.

Brannan was further convicted of sexual assault, causing children to consume drugs and alcohol and supplying class A drugs.

Watson and Clark were also found guilty of sexual assault.

Three of those on trial: Mark Carr, 49; Richard Gachagan, 46; and Leona Laing, 51, were acquitted of all charges.

An allegation that the accused used a Ouija board to “call on spirits and demons” causing the child victims to “believe that they could see, hear and communicate with spirits and demons” and making them take part in “witchcraft”, was dropped by prosecutors during the trial.

Following the guilty verdicts in November, Lord Beckett said: “None of you can now enjoy the presumption of innocence.

“You have all been found guilty of at least one serious charge.”

In discharging the jury, Lord Beckett thanked them for their “remarkable public service”.

He said that given their “extraordinary service”, he is excusing each of them from ever again serving on a jury.

“It has been a very difficult trial to listen to,” Lord Beckett added.

“It has been pretty unpleasant and shocking.

“It plunges to the depths of human depravity.”

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