July 2021

Scots pensioner raped schoolgirl in woods during campaign of sexual abuse against children

A pensioner was jailed after raping a girl on a woodland walk following an 18-year campaign of sex offending against children.

Edward Swan, 75, attacked the girl at Buckland Woods, at Hawick, in the Scottish Borders, and seized her and removed her lower clothing before pushing her to the ground and raping her.

The victim later told a police officer and social worker during an interview: “He forced me down so that he could do it to us.”

She was one of four girls subjected to abuse by Swan between 2000 and 2018.

Swan, of Fairhurst Drive, Hawick, had denied a string of offences during a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh but was today convicted of five sex crimes – two rapes, two indecency offences and a sexual assault.

His first victim was aged between six and eight when he targeted her for abuse during stays that she made at an address in his home town between 2000 and 2003.

A second girl was molested and raped by him at a house and in the woods in Hawick when she aged seven or eight. The third girl was a primary school pupil when she was subjected to abuse by Swan between 2011 and 2013 in a Borders town.

The fourth girl, who was raped at Buckland Woods, was aged 10 or 11 at the time of the offence which occurred between 2015 and 2018.

His first victim gave evidence, which was pre recorded and shown to the jury at his trial. She spoke of three incidents when Swan abused her as a child during stays at a house in Hawick where he was supposed to be sleeping on a couch.

She said he would come into a bedroom where she was sleeping and touch her and perform a sex act. She said: “I don’t know what time it was. It was dark.”

The woman, now aged 27, said that the first time it occured she “just froze”. She told the court in her filmed evidence that she did not understand what was happening but added: “I just knew it was not right.”

On a second occasion Swan had whispered in her ear as he abused her and told her “that I needed to know what it felt like.”

She said that when a third incident took place she felt she could not stop it from happening and screamed and a woman came to her aid.

The woman said she later told her partner that she had been abused and came forward to speak to police after a newspaper article.

Swan, who has no criminal record, was on bail following a court appearance in 2019.

But after the jury returned its verdicts the trial judge, Lord Burns, remanded him in custody and placed him on the sex offenders’ register.

The judge adjourned sentence on Swan until September for the preparation of a background report on him