A north-east pensioner has pleaded guilty to conducting a 40-year campaign of sexual abuse against girls as young as four-years-old.
Yesterday, Peterhead Sheriff Court heard how John Tollerfield, 76, took advantage of five girls over 42 years.
Tollerfield spoke only to confirm his name before procurator fiscal David Bernard detailed nine charges facing the pensioner.
Mr Bernard described the crimes as “systematic sexual abuse” over a prolonged period.
The court heard how Tollerfield touched the girls underneath their clothing for his own sexual gratification.
On several occasions Tollerfield asked the girls to sit on his knee for “cuddles” before groping them.
After touching the breasts of one 13-year-old girl, Tollerfield said: “You have lovely breasts for a young woman,” Mr Bernard told the court.
Discussing another victim, Mr Bernard continued: “The complainer recalls an incident in a caravan outside the accused’s home where he asked her to lie down on top of him and held her tightly.”
In a separate incident, Tollerfield approached the girl – then aged between nine and 11 -years-old – in a Travelodge hotel room and put his hand between her legs.
Presiding Sheriff Andrew Miller and the court officers sat quietly while the procurator fiscal spent more than 15 minutes describing each allegation of abuse in turn.
The court heard that in 2012, one victim was worried about a lump in her breast.
Tollerfield told her he could check the lump before massaging her under her clothing.
When the girl said she felt uncomfortable, Tollerfield replied: “Don’t tell your mum. I’ll get into trouble – this will be our little secret.”
There were angry scenes in the court room as Mr Bernard detailed the offences and court officials were forced to remove one man who heckled Tollerfield from the public gallery.
When the evidence concluded, Sheriff Miller asked that two police officers accompany Tollerfield – who remains on bail – out of the court building for his own safety.
Tollerfield, whose address was given as Burnside of Rora, Longside, will return to Peterhead Sheriff Court on June 4 for sentencing.