Police Scotland welcome jail term for predator found guilty of sex crimes against children
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Police have praise the bravery of young victims who came forward after a Caithness man was sentenced for serious sexual offences and abuse of three children.
Ernest Watt, from Wick, was jailed for eight years at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday.
Watt's offences took place at properties in Wick between January 2011 and February 2017. He raped one boy and abused another boy and a girl.
The 48-year-old also carried out further physical assaults on the children which included striking them on the body with a belt and pushing one of the boys on a bed.
He was found guilty after trial at the High Court in Glasgow of rape, sexual assaults and physical abuse against the victims.
Detective Inspector Craig Thomson, the senior investigating officer from Police Scotland's Highlands and Islands Division child abuse unit, said: “We welcome the sentencing of Ernest Watt and I would like to acknowledge the bravery of those who came forward and worked with our specialist officers.
"They had been subjected to a catalogue of abuse and ill treatment by Watt over a significant number of years.
"The bravery of these children will also send a message out to victims that no matter how long the abuse has gone on, there is support out there, and we will pursue a thorough investigation, using all means at our disposal, whilst working with the Procurator Fiscal, to bring such predators before the court.”
Judge Lord Armstrong also put Watt on an extended sentence for a further four years upon his release from prison.
The judge said: “You were in a clear position of trust and the crimes were committed against children.
“During this period, you repeatedly assaulted them in your house.
“You are 48 and you have a record which spans from 1991 to 2017 which comprises of 37 previous convictions.
“You continue to deny responsibility for your conduct for the charges you were found guilty of.
“You lied about what you did to them and you appear to have a lack of empathy or reason.
"You are dismissive towards the victims in this case.
“Society feels abhorrence for crimes against children and this court needs to show that.”
Watt, of Wick, was also put on the sex offenders register for an indefinite period.