A well-known Inverness market trader who abused women and children and then tried to fake his own death was today jailed for 15 years.
Kim Avis, 57, raped and molested victims during an 11-year campaign of sex crimes in the Highlands.
Avis was convicted of 14 charges after a two-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.
He preyed on two girls and two women between 2006 and 2017, mainly in Inverness – including at his property called Wolves Den.
Pony-tailed Avis – also a well-known busker in the city – should have originally stood trial in March 2019.
But the 57-year-old had instead gone to America where he was then reported missing by his 17-year-old son Reuben.
He was said to have last been seen going for a swim at Monastery Beach in Carmel, California.
The crimes included raping three of the victims, also attempting to rape one of the trio and sexually assaulting the fourth.
A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh today: “You then effectively went on the run before US marshalls, unpersuaded that you were dead, tracked you down in Colorado.”
Lord Sandison said: “You were for many years a very well-known street trader in Inverness, busking and selling jewellery from your market stall.”
The judge said that as he understood it Avis had even received “some sort of good citizen award”.
But Lord Sandison said there was another side to him and the author of a background report prepared on the sex offender had described him as “a controlling and dominant personality”.
Avis, formerly of Wolves Den, Farr, Inverness, had denied a string of charges at an earlier trial but was convicted of attacks on two adult women and two girls committed between 2006 and 2016. He was found guilty of a total of 13 offences of rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and indecency.
He was also found guilty of failing to appear at the High Court in Edinburgh on March 11 2019 for proceedings in the case. He was detained in the US in July that year.
Lord Sandison jailed Avis for 12 years for the sex crimes he committed and imprisoned him for a further three years for failing to appear in court.
The judge said of the latter decision: “I regard this as a very serious example of the offence.”
Avis said of the allegations against him at his earlier trial: “It is like reading a film script. It is untrue. It is disgusting.”
Defence counsel Lorenzo Alonzi said Avis had no criminal record for similar offending but knew he faced a lengthy sentence.
Mr Alonzi said: “His position in relation to the offences, as seen from the report, is unchanged.”
The defence counsel said that Avis has “lost everything” including his reputation.
Avis was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.