Child rapist confesses on tape

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A rape victim snared the man who preyed on her as a little girl after recording conversations with her abuser.

Former soldier John Johnstone apologised to the woman during a taped confrontation and then admitted he had sex with her during a second.

Johnstone (50) now faces a lengthy prison sentence after subjecting the girl to almost a decade of sexual abuse and rape.

He had denied the sex crime during a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, but was found guilty of the offence today.

A judge told him: “You have been convicted of the most appalling crimes. That any man should do this to any child is wicked enough.”

Michael O’Grady QC said: “She was used and abused and the innocence she should have enjoyed in her young life was snatched from her.”

The judge said it had been “utterly harrowing” watching and listening as the 38-year-old woman gave her evidence reliving her experience.

He told the first offender that he required to obtain a background report on him before passing sentence on him next month.

The judge told Johnstone: “I cannot say precisely what that sentence will be but what I can say is it will be custodial and it will be lengthy to reflect, however inadequately, the harm you have done.”

The judge rejected a defence plea to allow Johnstone to remain on bail ahead of sentencing.

Johnstone was convicted of abusing and raping the girl when she was aged between two and 11 at houses and a park in Polmont and in Bo’ness between June 1980 and March in 1990.

During the catalogue of abuse he molested the child, exposed himself and got her to carry out sex acts on him.

The victim told the court that during oral sex acts he had her by the hair and became more aggressive to her as time went on.

She said: “As I got older he stopped being sort of nice to me.” She said she had cried out when he first raped her. She said she was “pretty much pinned down by the weight of him”.

She said he had performed a sex act on her before he committed the rape.

Johnstone had babysat for the girl and she said: “If my parents were out it was possible it would happen.”

Advocate depute Mark McGuire asked her if as time went on she started to get a sense of whether what was happening to her was wrong. She replied: “Absolutely.”

She said she had told Johnstone that she had begun to realise it was wrong. “He said it wasn’t wrong because people love each other,” she said.

She said the abuse had begun on visits to Johnstone’s former home in Bo’ness and she recalled him standing in the doorway of his bedroom and he offered her pennies from a piggy bank for a kiss.

The woman said the abuse that she suffered ended when Johnstone left to join the Army. She said that as a child she had spoken to adults about what happened but did not get “a sympathetic response”.

But in 2015 she had gone to a house where Johnstone was visiting and made a recording of an initial conversation with her abuser with her phone in her back pocket, which he was unaware of.

She said: “I really just wanted to listen to it and absorb it.” During the recording which was played to the jury Johnstone said: “I was so wrong and I know I was wrong. That’s why I left.”

He told her he had dreaded the conversation coming up and was ashamed.

During the second conversation she said she had asked him to say what it was he had done to her. She said: “He did actually say he had sexual intercourse with me on numerous occasions.”

Mr McGuire asked the woman whether she had made the recordings to obtain evidence or to help seek closure. She replied: “Closure.”

But she had also later “poured out everything that had gone on” to a family doctor who convinced her to report it to the authorities.

Defence counsel Derick Nelson asked Johnstone, of Alexandra Road, Sleaford, in Lincolnshire, what he was referring to when he had said sorry in the recordings. He said: “I kissed her inappropriately when I was about 18.”

He said: “I kissed her twice. The second time I stopped I was so disgusted with myself.” He said there was no truth in it when he later said he had sex with her.

Johnstone was placed on the sex offenders’ register.