A high risk sex offender who preyed on women and children and subjected victims to rape and abuse over more than four decades was given a life sentence yesterday.
Douglas Ewen was warned he will only ever be freed if the authorities consider it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that he be kept in jail.
Ewen, 59, inflicted a catalogue of sexual and physical harm on victims across the north-east, beginning when he was only 15 years of age.
Detective Chief Inspector Lorna Ferguson, who led the investigation that helped bring him to justice, said he had “devastated the lives” of his victims as she also praised their courage in coming forward.
At the High Court in Edinburgh, where he was sentenced, Lord Kinclaven told Ewen: “There is clearly no alternative to a custodial sentence. No other method of dealing with you is appropriate.”
Lord Kinclaven said he had reached the view that the risk criteria were met for imposing an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) on Ewen.
Under an OLR the court sets a minimum period the offender must spend in prison but any future release is left to the parole authorities.
Lord Kinclaven told Ewen that he would fix the punishment part that he must serve at five-and-a-half years.
But the judge told him: “Please be clear that does not mean that at the end of that period of five years and six months that you will be released.”
The judge said he had read a victim impact statement from one woman who was abused and raped by Ewen as a child which set out the emotional and psychological impact of his offending on her.
Lord Kinclaven said that an expert who prepared a report on Ewen had reached the conclusion that he presented a high risk.
Ewen, a prisoner at HMP Grampian, was found guilty of a total of 18 offences, involving 10 victims, last year following a trial at the High Court in Aberdeen.
His catalogue of crime included child rape, rape of women, sexual and physical assaults and threatening behaviour, together with the taking of indecent photographs.
Most of his offending occurred at addresses in Aberdeen but other incidents took place at different locations in the north-east.
His crimes began in 1974 when he was a teenager, as he physically assaulted a female in the Balnagask area of the city and repeatedly punched her.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
In 1976 he started committing sexual crimes after targeting a little girl whom he molested from the age of five before later raping her.
Ewen then began abusing a second five-year-old girl in 1980 and attacked and indecently assaulted a third underage girl in the city during the 1980s.
Between 1989 and 2017, seven women became his victims, with his treatment of them involving serious assaults, multiple rapes, following his victims and the taking of indecent images.
Defence counsel David Moggach said Ewen still maintained that he was innocent of the charges a jury convicted him on.
He said Ewen did not keep the best of health, but added: “There is, it has to be accepted, a common theme throughout all the reports that he is a risk, a high risk.”
Detective Chief Inspector Ferguson said: “Ewen committed a catalogue of abuse against young children and adults over more than 40 years in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“He has devastated the lives of his victims who have shown great courage in coming forward and giving evidence at trial.
“This horrific abuse can now come to an end and it is my hope that the fact that Ewen will now have to face the consequences of his actions will bring some form of closure for his victims and their families.”