February 2009

Man who abused his nieces jailed


A 69-year-old man who sexually abused his two nieces while they were children has been jailed for three and a half years.

George Cummings preyed on the sisters while he was looking after them in Grangemouth during the 1970s. The girls were aged three and six when Cummings – who is known as Billy – began abusing them.

Members of the victims’ families applauded as temporary judge Sheriff Roger Craik jailed Cummings. But they later hit out that the judge had been allowed to continue with the case after he controversially locked up one of the witnesses.

A woman who had accused Cummings of raping her when she was 12-years-old was remanded in custody overnight after she became upset and fled the witness box while giving her evidence. Ann – who has since waived her right to anonymity – spent the night in the cells at an Edinburgh police station before being brought back to court the following day to continue her evidence. The rape charge was later dropped.

Cummings, of Grangemouth, faced charges relating to four girls when he stood trial at the High Court in Edinburgh last month. He was found guilty of sexually abusing one girl and using lewd and libidinous behaviour towards another. The jury returned ‘not proven’ verdicts on allegations he molested two other girls on various occasions between 1970 and 1979.

The court was told Cummings, who was brought to court in a wheelchair by ambulance, still denies abusing his nieces. He abused the girls when he was living in the Grangemouth’s Forth Street and Kerse Road between 1971 and 1977.

His victims Diane, 40, and Angela, 42, have waived their identity in a bid to encourage sexual abuse victims to report offences.

Diane was abused by Cummings from the age of three for six years. She said the sentence was not long enough. “He’s taken away 37 years of my life,” she said. “It’s had an effect on me for this time and its going to have an effect on me for the rest of my life.”

Angela, from Falkirk, was abused for five years from the age of six. She stated the abuse had ruined her relationship with her sister as the pair had never shared their experiences until they were adults. She added the death of their mother five years ago had brought the offences to light, and brought the sisters back together.

Defence counsel Sarah Livingstone said divorced Cummings, of Grangemouth, now has no contact with his family and lives an “isolated” life. Cummings, who had been allowed to remain at liberty throughout the week-long trial and while awaiting sentencing, was taken into custody to begin his jail term.