Detective says child abuse ring was unprecedented as review pledged

A detective has described a group convicted of a litany of child abuse charges as “like nothing we have seen before”, as a review was pledged into the case.

On Tuesday, seven people were convicted of sexual abuse charges following an eight-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow, while an eighth person was found guilty of assaulting a child.

Police launched an investigation in June 2019, and arrests were made in October 2020.

Detective Superintendent Nicola Kilbane said officers followed up more than 1,000 lines of inquiry and police workers were offered support following the “harrowing” evidence.

Police Scotland said it will participate in a multi-agency learning review, after two of the child witnesses were quizzed around 40 times during the investigation.

Ms Kilbane said the case was “absolutely like nothing we had come across before” and pledged to use all available resources to get convictions in any future such cases.

She thanked social workers and education staff for helping to bring perpetrators to justice.

Ms Kilbane said: “We hope this will give others confidence to contact police.”

Colin Anderson, independent chair of Glasgow’s Child Protection Committee, said: “This has been a highly complex case.

“The circumstances of the children involved will be subject to a Case Learning Review, in accordance with the Scottish Government National Guidance for Child Protection Committees Undertaking Learning Reviews. It is therefore inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Iain Owens, 45, Elaine Lannery, 39, Scott Forbes, 50, Barry Watson, 47, Lesley Ann Williams, 41, Paul Brannan, 41, and John Clark, 47, were convicted of sex abuse following the trial, while Marianne Gallagher, 38, was convicted of assault. Sentencing will take place on January 4.

Three others were acquitted.