05 April 2024

Sentencing of child abuse ring postponed

05 April 2024

Seven people convicted of being part of a child abuse ring which committed crimes of “extraordinary depravity” have had their sentencing postponed until June.

The two women and five men were all convicted of gang raping a child and abusing other children in a drugs den in Glasgow where heroin and crack cocaine were used.

Some were convicted of harming two children and others of abusing three children, while four of the defendants were found guilty of attempting to murder a child following an eight-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Iain Owens, 45; Elaine Lannery, 39; Lesley Williams, 41; Paul Brannan, 41; Scott Forbes, 50; Barry Watson, 47; and John Clark, 47, all face life sentences after being convicted in November.

Judge Lord Beckett previously warned they face “very substantial” jail terms for their “extraordinary depravity”, and said he was considering if an order for lifelong restriction should be imposed.

A new date for their sentencing was set on Friday for June 28.

Lord Beckett commissioned risk assessments due to the severity of the crimes, which occurred between 2012 and 2019.

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 given a deferred sentence until January 2025.

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

At the court on Friday, Lord Beckett said two reports have been completed – for Williams and Brannan – but one report, for Clark, has not yet been started.

The judge said: “There was a difficulty in having to identify seven risk assessors at one time. It can be difficult to find one available risk assessor.”

He said it was “regrettable that no progress has been made” in the case of Clark.

The judge added: “It ought to be complete by the next hearing. I said when I made the risk assessment orders that the court knew it was not likely to be the case that sentencing would happen at this hearing.

“The court was presented with a unique challenge in having to find so many risk assessors.

“It is regrettable but also unavoidable. All the accused will continue to be remanded in custody. All time remanded will be taken into consideration.”

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