A serial child abuser was jailed for nearly five years yesterday – and was still protesting his innocence as he was led away to start his sentence.
Pensioner William Grant preyed on three girls for more than a decade.
The offences were committed in Aberdeen and Moray.
One of his victims was targeted numerous times in the city over five years – from primary school age until she was in her late teens.
Another was abused over about two years, until she was about 14, at a lay-by on the A96 between Fochabers and Elgin and in Buckie.
His third victim – who was in her early teens – was abused in Elgin over a period of about a year.
Former construction worker Grant had denied five charges of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards the girls.
But a jury found the 71-year-old, of 101 Robertson Road, Elgin, guilty.
His counsel, advocate Bill Adam, said in court yesterday that his client had been acquitted of the most serious allegation, one of intent to rape.
He told Sheriff Susan Raeburn: “Mr Grant has lived alone since his wife passed away in 2003.
“He had always worked in the construction industry but gave it up to care for his wife.
“He was for many years suffering problems to his lungs, which resulted in several health problems, including shortness of breath.
“I would perhaps highlight that the most serious aspect of the indictment – intent to rape – was removed.”
But Sheriff Raeburn condemned Grant for the “ordeal” he had forced his three victims to relive during his trial because of his denial of guilt, and for acting “without thought of the consequences to your victims”.
She added: “You remain in denial of wrongdoing, notwithstanding the unanimous guilty verdict of the jury.
“It makes rehabilitation all the more difficult to achieve, with a risk of reoffending.”
Grant was sentenced to 58 months in jail.
He will remain under supervision for two years after his release.