Jail sentence for football coach who abused boys
Four-and-a-half-years for north-east man
A perverted north-east football coach who abused a string of young boys over nearly a decade was yesterday jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Alasdair McCulloch preyed upon at least six boys – on one occasion luring two children into woods to play truth or dare and then attacking them.
The 34-year-old, from Fraserburgh, left his victims traumatised, with one saying they continued to suffer from nightmares about the abuse.
He pled guilty earlier this year to five charges of using lewd and libidinous practices towards children over eight years.
And yesterday, at the High Court in Glasgow, he learnt his fate as Lord Arthurson told him it was clear he had very deliberately “targeted young male children”.
Passing sentence, he said: “In these circumstances, you will well appreciate that on any view the gravity of your offending, given the nature, the period libelled and the number and age of your victims, merits the imposition upon you today of a substantial custodial sentence.”
McCulloch was also placed on the sex offenders register for an indefinite period as the High Court heard he had a 2005 conviction for a similar offence.
It was previously reported that one of McCulloch’s victims – who can’t be identified – told how seeing footballers talking about their own ordeals helped him report his attacker.
He said: “With football players being able to stand up and say what happened to them, it just gave me the courage to stand up and say it as well. I constantly have nightmares about it.
“I’ve got kids and struggle to be close to them. I struggle to have close relationships.”
At the earlier hearing, the court was told the abuse involved at least six boys he had invited to discuss football tactics with him.
Advocate depute Ashley Edwards QC said on one occasion he led two children into woodland to play truth or dare and sexually abused them.
She added: “Neither understood what was happening or even realised it was sexual at the time.”
The court heard McCulloch also performed sex acts while watching children playing.
Ms Edwards said: “It is estimated the accused carried out this behaviour around 30 times in total.”
Defence counsel Derick Nelson said: “Mr McCulloch was exposed to some very traumatic experiences as he was growing up.”
Mr Nelson said McCulloch was due to become a dad for the first time later this year and said he “acknowledges the harm that these offences have caused other people”.
After the sentencing at the High Court, procurator fiscal for sexual offences Kenny Donnelly said: “The fact that the victims of Alasdair McCulloch had the courage to come forward to report what had happened to them has allowed us to bring him to justice.
“Although these crimes took place a number of years ago, this case and others like it show that justice can be achieved even when many years have passed from the date of the crime.
“I strongly encourage anyone who has been a victim of any such offence, whenever it may have occurred, to report this to the police.
“They can do so in the confidence that they will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors.”
“This case and others like it show that justice can be achieved”
TARGETED BOYS: Alasdair McCulloch sexually abused at least six young males, the court heard