A PAEDOPHILE who sexually assaulted and took indecent photographs of a young girl has been jailed for 12 years.
Stuart MacDonald, 39, had denied attacking the victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons – forcing her to endure the trauma of giving evidence against him in court.
But following a trial, a 12-strong jury took just over two-and-a-half hours to find him guilty of four counts of sexual assault on a child aged under 13 and two of taking indecent photographs of a child.
MacDonald’s vile secret was uncovered when indecent photographs of and text messages to the victim were found on his phone and the police were called.
He tried to delete the evidence before police arrived, but was arrested and 14 images were found.
MacDonald, who has no previous convictions and suffers from anxiety and depression, claimed the messages were meant for his wife.
The images were ranked by experts at level one – with five being the worst category possible.
Iain Ross, defending, said: ‘Stuart MacDonald is a man who is, notwithstanding these matters he has been convicted of, somebody who is highly thought of and loved by his family and those who know him, particularly from his church. He has been supported throughout by his family.’
He added: ‘We have to accept the jury’s verdict and we have to accept that there are aggravating factors in this case.’
Judge Sarah Munro, sentencing, said: ‘The evidence against you in my view was overwhelming, and only because of your denials did the victim have to go through the traumatic process of giving evidence before a court.’
Judge Munro accepted that MacDonald had sustained a head injury in 2009, after which his family said they noticed a change in his personality, and that he has suffered from anxiety and depression.
MacDonald, of Orbiston Drive, Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, lived in Portsmouth when the offences took place locally between August and October last year.
He has had to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register and is banned from working with children for life.
Detective Constable Kimberly Wain is the officer in charge of the case.
She said: ‘I’m sure the victim will be pleased with the outcome.
‘It is a shame she’s had to go through the ordeal of giving evidence at court.
‘I just hope she can get closure.’