Febuary 2006

Indecent soldier escapes prison

A former soldier from Moraywho indecently assaulted a young girl after a tour of duty has escaped jail.

Former Royal Scots Dragoon Guard Ryan Imray, known as Hepburn, attacked the 13-year-old girl at a house in Aberdeenshire in August last year.

Hepburn, 20, of The Royal Hotel, Forres, has since been discharged from the Army. He admitted the offence when he appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

He was given three years probation and 200 hours community service.

Hepburn committed the offence on the same day he returned to Scotland after a tour of duty in Germany.

‘No explanation’

The court heard Hepburn asked the girl for a cuddle, but when she refused he kept pestering her and then indecently assaulted her.

When later asked if it was true, he just shrugged his shoulders and lit a cigarette. He told police the assault “was just frustration”.

Defence advocate Bill Adam said Hepburn had been proud of serving in the Army since he left school, but was now unemployed, receiving benefits and living in a hotel.

“He fully accepts responsibility for his actions,” said Mr Adam. “He has no explanation to why he behaved this way.

“His career in the Army, which he was very proud of and wanted to continue, has been ended.”

First offender Hepburn hung his head during his court appearance.

‘Extremely upsetting’

Sheriff Graeme Buchanan described the incident as “a very nasty offence indeed”.

“This must have been an extremely upsetting experience for her,” he said.

But the sheriff said the consequences for Hepburn were also “very significant” and told him he would not be sent to jail.

Sheriff Buchanan sentenced Hepburn to three years probation with a condition that he must participate in a sex offenders programme.

He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and the sheriff warned that any breach of probation could lead to a custodial sentence.

Hepburn was also ordered to register as a sex offender for three years.