March 2015

Pervert jailed for abusing three boys aged 13 or under when they were on courses at an island activity centre he ran


A businessman who abused his position of trust to prey on vulnerable young boys in the 1980s has been jailed for 18 months.

Torquil Johnson-Ferguson, 65, attacked three boys aged 13 or under when they were on courses at an island activity centre he ran.

He was jailed at Oban Sheriff Court today and placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years after being convicted of three charges of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour.

Details of the outcome of today’s hearing were confirmed by the Crown Office.

Johnson-Ferguson, of Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway, owns Rua Fiola Island in the Firth of Lorn and until recently operated an activity centre on the island.

From 1976, the centre ran week-long courses during the summer months, offering kayaking, rock climbing and survival skills targeted at nine to 14-year-old boys from private schools throughout the UK.

It was during those courses that on three separate occasions, between 1981 and 1986, Johnson-Ferguson carried out the sexual assaults on the boys, prosecutors said.

The court heard during the trial that Johnson-Ferguson had tried to change his appearance by cutting his long hair before an identity parade. 

He was asked by Fiscal Eoin McGinty today: “Why was it that you changed your appearance just prior to your video identity parade?”

He replied: “It wasn’t linked, I get a hair cut every four months.”

The prosecutor asked: “Why for the first time in all the time your wife has known you, did you sport a fringe?”

Johnson-Ferguson said: “I don’t understand the fringe. It was nothing devious. I might have cut it if my hair was getting in my eyes.”

Speaking after the sentencing, Fraser Gibson, procurator fiscal, sheriff and jury for the West of Scotland, said: “Torquil Johnson-Ferguson was in a position of trust and abused that to prey on vulnerable young boys.

“For nearly 30 years he may well have thought that he had escaped justice but he was wrong and is now paying the consequences for his actions.

“I would urge any victims of sexual crimes, even ones which occurred decades ago, to come forward and report them. They will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors and we will do all we can to deliver justice.”