May 2013

Dundee church warden jailed for sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl

Neil Morton

A Dundee churchwarden has been jailed for 16 months after admitting he twice sexually abused an eight-year-old girl.

Neil Morton carried out sex acts on the girl while he was looking after her for her parents.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard he attacked the girl twice over a 20 month period in a bedroom at his home in Dundee.

Jailing Morton, Sheriff Richard Davidson said it was “impossible to overstate the harm” he had done to the girl.

The court heard abuse only came to light after the girl told her parents that she didn’t want to go back to stay at Morton’s home again.

She later told police that Morton was “doing things that were wrong”.

In a victim impact statement submitted to the court, the girl said she had been left “confused, embarrassed, scared and vulnerable” by the attacks

Morton’s lawyer pleaded for him to be spared prison – and said he could be “better treated” on a community order.

But Sheriff Davidson told him a jail term was “unavoidable” for his “gross breach of trust”.

Morton, 65, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of sexually assaulting the girl on two occasions between 1 December 2010 and 12 July 2012.

Sheriff Richard Davidson jailed Morton for 16 months, ordered him to be monitored on his release for two years on an extended sentence, and put him on the sex offender’s register for 10 years.

Inexplicable behaviour

He said: “It is impossible to overstate the harm that you have done to this girl and the rest of her family in general.

“From your discussions with the psychologist who compiled a report I see you offer no explanation for your behaviour.”

He added: “It’s an extraordinarily sad state of affairs that you have got to your stage in life with no convictions, and that has been blown totally out of the water.

“But I can’t have children thinking this could happen to them without the appropriate punishment being imposed.”

April 2013

Dundee church warden admits abusing eight-year-old girl

A Dundee church warden is facing jail after he admitted sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Neil Morton, 65, carried out the crimes while he was looking after the child for her parents.

Morton, 65, of Pitroddie Gardens, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of sexually assaulting the girl on two occasions between December 1, 2010 and July 12, 2012 in a bedroom at his home

Sheriff Richard Davidson described Morton’s actions as “disturbing” and deferred sentence until next month.

The court heard the abuse only came to light after the girl told her parents that she did not want to go back to stay at Morton’s home again.

She later told police that Morton was “doing things that were wrong”.

Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie told the court that Morton had helped look after the girl since she was a baby.

“On Tuesday 13 November last year the girl was informed she would be staying at the accused’s house that weekend,” she said.

“The girl made a comment about not wanting to sleep there. She was asked about this but initially denied that anything had happened to her.

“She then stated that the accused had done things to her, but became upset and would say no more about it.

A joint interview was later carried out with the police.

‘No excuse’

Ms Gillespie said the girl gave a “clear account” of what had happened, during which she said Morton had been “doing things that were wrong”.

She added: “She said she was eight when this happened and that the second time it happened she told him that she didn’t like it and it had not happened again.”

Jack Brown, defending, said Morton was “truly remorseful”.

He said: “He has no explanation and offers no excuse.”

Sheriff Richard Davidson deferred sentence until next month for a psychological report on Morton.

He said: “This is a very disturbing plea you’ve tendered, and in very disturbing circumstances.

“I cannot imagine what possessed you to do this after the productive life you’ve lived.

“I can’t hold out any optimism for you in terms of sentencing.”