February 2018

Edinburgh paedophile jailed for 11-year-old’s rape

An Edinburgh paedophile who repeatedly raped an 11-year-old girl has been jailed for seven years.

Norman Nicholl, 50, from Leith, was earlier found guilty of raping the girl at a house in Lanark on various occasions between November 2005 and August the following year.

Nicholl was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

Lord Uist said: “Child rape is a detestable crime which requires a lengthy sentence by way of punishment.”

He also ordered Nicholl, known as Wes, should also be kept under supervision for a further six years in order to protect the public, and in particular young girls, from serious harm from him.

Defence counsel Matt Jackson told the High Court in Edinburgh: “His position to me is that he is mindful that his actions were wrong and that his motivations are also entirely wrong.

“He has said to me that he does wish to avail himself of any help which may be given to him,” he added.

“It does appear he is somebody who will engage in these processes and who recognises his attraction to children.”

Lord Uist pointed out: “He is a self-confessed paedophile.”

The judge referred to a psychological report prepared on the sex offender which described him as being adept at presenting in a superficially likeable and personable manner.

November 2017

‘Total monster’ convicted of raping 11-year-old girl

A mother whose daughter was sexually assaulted by a man from Edinburgh has described her attacker as a “total monster” following his conviction for the rape of an 11-year-old girl.

Painter and decorator Wes Nicholl will be sentenced in January after a jury heard he had filmed himself having sex with the girl, now aged 22.

Nicholl, of Haimyre Street in Leith, had three previous convictions for child sexual abuse and had attended a sex offenders’ treatment programme.

Yesterday the mother of one of his previous victims said she hoped he would be locked up for life as she described her relief at the guilty verdict.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Nicholl’s actions had had a devastating impact on the entire family after he targeted her daughter in an “opportunistic attack”.

She said: “The police contacted us in January and they had told us that they were going to arrest him.

“He’s been on all these treatment programmes and he’s still reoffending. I just feel that people should be aware and know more about him.

“The jury were right in convicting him, that was a total relief – justice prevailed eventually.

“I’m hoping for [a sentence of] life, if not 13 years and above. I don’t know the circumstances of the [recent] case but as far as I’m concerned he deserves life for all the lives he has wasted.”

The woman said Nicholl, 50, was the type of man who “threatened people” and that she was sure other victims would now come forward.

“He’s a total monster,” she said. “The jury definitely returned the right verdict. It was a worry that he would walk free again.

“I felt for the families who were at court. I’m just so glad that he’s in jail and was remanded in custody.”

Her comments come after Nicholl’s latest victim had told the court how she had regularly gone to his home after school from the age of ten onwards.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the victim told the jury she was too young at the time to understand what was going on, but recalled Nicholl groping her and undressing her.

She said this progressed to him having sex with her as his video camera filmed them in his bedroom.

Jurors at the High Court in Livingston heard Nicholl had a collection of naked pictures of her and used childlike language to message his victim.

In his closing speech, advocate depute Peter Kearney described Nicholl as a “calculating, controlling and devious individual” who took steps to ensure his crimes were not witnessed by others.

Judge Lord Uist called for a criminal justice social work report and ordered that the accused’s name be added to the sex offenders’ register for a second time.

He told Nicholl: “You have three previous offences for lewd, indecent and libidinous practices involving a child. That makes the present conviction all the more disturbing.

“You may take it in the light of your record and conviction by the jury today that when you’re sentenced in January you’ll receive a significant sentence of imprisonment.”

Nicholl will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on January 10, 2018.

Update – Changed his name to Wes Nichol 

2006 update – Norman Nichol was sentenced to three years’ probation. Nichol was found guilty of three counts of lewd and libidinous behaviour against children. 

September 2006

Convicted paedophile walks free from court, while mother who yelled a protest is locked in a cell

A mother who voiced her anger in court after a convicted paedophile walked free was hauled off to spend a night in a police cell.

The distraught mother of four yelled in protest from the public gallery when the child abuser was granted bail.

Moments later, police officers surrounded then handcuffed her before charging her with breach of the peace.

Norman Nichol had just been convicted of a string of sex offences against young children but was allowed to walk free pending sentencing in three weeks’ time.

It is possible that the former painter will be spared jail – but the angry mother was thrown in a cell following her protest after police deemed her a threat to public safety.

Last night the decision to lock her up was fiercely criticised as another example of the confused priorities that have plunged the Scottish justice system into chaos.

The 48- year- old woman claims Nichol abused her daughter, now 24, when she was seven, though Nichol’s not guilty plea to that accusation was accepted by the Crown.

But Nichol, 39, was convicted at Lanark Sheriff Court of four charges of lewd and libidinous behaviour against other children and put on the sex offenders’ register.

But when Nichol, from Carluke, Lanarkshire, was freed to await sentence, it sparked anger in the public gallery.

The furious mother yelled ‘ beast’ after learning Nichol would go free and within seconds found herself being handcuffed by up to five officers and charged with breach of the peace.

Last night the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘I couldn’t believe what was happening – suddenly I was surrounded by four or five officers who put handcuffs on me.

‘I was so angry when I realised he was being allowed to walk free.

There is no way someone accused of crimes so serious should be allowed to walk the streets.

‘So I shouted out “beast” and the next thing I knew I was being charged with breach of the peace. I think a system that allows this to happen is an absolute disgrace.’ The mother was initially told she would be let out, but police told her moments later that she would be detained overnight to appear before the sheriff the next morning. She was held in a cell with another woman accused of a serious assault.

The following morning, police told her she would not have to appear in court and would be allowed to walk free.

‘The police were reasonably sympathetic and told me it was the fiscal’s decision to put me in a cell and then they had changed their mind,’ she said.

‘I’ve never been so afraid in my whole life.’ She added: ‘My daughter was very upset he pleaded not guilty.

My solicitor told me he probably won’t even get a jail sentence.’ Last night SNP justice spokesman Kenny MacAskill said the decision to lock up the mother was ‘entirely disproportionate.’ He added: ‘There has to be dignity and decorum in court, but when a distraught mother feels there has been a manifest injustice, I think common sense and basic humanity necessitate a lenient approach.’ Margaret Mitchell, justice spokesman for the Scottish Tories, said: ‘There is certainly understandable public frustration about the European law which means people accused of serious crimes are bailed.

‘You would expect this kind of case to be managed in a more sympathetic way – perhaps she should have been given a warning and a chance to settle down rather than being put in a cell.’ The parents of Nicol’s victims are campaigning for tougher sentences for child sex offenders and have written to Lord Hardie, one of Scotland’s top judges.

Last month, Lord Hardie criticised the system after it was revealed that paedophile James Steele, 28, of Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, befriended a family while on licence so he could sexually abuse their 12-year-old son.

Last year, a Scottish Daily Mail investigation revealed that the average sentence for people convicted of serious sexual crimes in 2003 was nearly a year shorter than for the same offences six years previously.

A Strathclyde Police spokesman said: ‘A 48-year-old woman spent the night in the cells after a breach of the peace. No proceedings are being taken.’ Last night, court sources insisted the decision to detain the woman was entirely a matter for the police and had not been initiated by prosecutors.

A Crown Office spokesman added: ‘After careful consideration of all the available facts and circumstances, the fiscal ordered that she be liberated.’