An Alness man was jailed for four years and placed on the sex offenders register for life after being convicted of abusing two young girls.
Maurice MacLeod, of Westford, was found guilty last month by a jury at Inverness Sheriff Court of four sex offences which occurred between February 2009 and December 2010 in a house in Easter Ross. He also breached a bail order.
Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood heard yesterday that MacLeod, 45, still protested his innocence – which, the Sheriff said in his opinion, ruled out a treatment order in the community.
He told MacLeod: “You have been convicted by a jury on what they found to be credible and reliable evidence.
“You abused two children for no other reason than your own perverted sexual gratification. I see no other possible alternative to a prison sentence.”
Sentence had been delayed for a background report.
His defence advocate, Victoria Dow said: “He continues to deny the offences and his family believe him.”
Sheriff Fleetwood said: “Unless there is an acknowledgment of a problem, there is no point in seeking a therapeutic disposal.”
And in a reference to the High Court, where much longer sentences can be handed down, the sheriff added: “He is lucky he is only in my court. He could have been elsewhere.”
After the sentence, Detective Constable Karen Oliver, of the Police Scotland Public Protection Unit, said: “Cases of sexual offences against children are always deeply distressing and I would like to thank the victims for their bravery for coming forward and during the court proceedings.
“I hope that the victims can take some comfort from the conviction and sentencing of Maurice MacLeod today.
“This case further shows that Police Scotland is committed to tackling sexual offences against children and will respond to any information passed to us, regardless of how much time has passed since the offending took place.
“There is no place for sexual abuse and I would encourage anyone with concerns about a child or young person’s safety to contact Police Scotland on 101.”