Brave mum puts serial abuser in jail for 14 years

Gary Millar.
Gary Millar.
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A PREDATORY abuser who terrorised six women and girls over three decades has been jailed for 14 years after his brave ex-girlfriend decided to take a stand.

Janet Peden, 42, went to the police after a horrific attack at the hands of ex-partner Gary Millar and sparked an investigation which uncovered five other victims.

She has today waived her right to anonymity to speak out about the catalogue of violence and sexual abuse perpetrated by Millar during their two-year relationship.

Tranent-born Millar has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for a series of violent and sexual offences against women – including sexual abuse of girls aged eight and ten.

Ms Peden told today how she was routinely beaten and forced into sex but summoned the courage to report her former lover.

Following her testimony, five of Millar’s other victims came forward to tell police how he had preyed on women since the 1980s.

The mother-of-two told of her “shock” that so many women came forward to give evidence against her abusive former partner.

“I was the first to come out and say anything,” said Ms Peden, a care worker.

“None of the others had broken their silence, but I felt like I had to.

“I’m glad they finally did and that they found their own courage.

“I had no idea about some of the other charges until the day he was sentenced.

“I was completely shocked when I heard that list.”

Millar was convicted of 14 counts of sexual assault, rape, violent assault and attempt to rape.

The terrifying list of charges includes holding knives to the throats of several victims and strangling a woman until she passed out.

He was also found guilty of smashing a woman’s head against a wardrobe and sexually abusing children aged eight and ten between 1984 and 1990, which began when Millar was 11.

Ms Peden said Millar – who most recently lived in Musselburgh – nearly escaped justice because she had been “too terrified to talk about it”.

“But now I’m so glad I did,” she said.

The pair had been childhood friends but lost touch when they left school until a chance meeting in 2012.

“I really fancied him back then [at school],” she said.

“I don’t know why, but there was just something about him that I liked.

“We reconnected and, at that point, we were just old friends catching up with each other.

“We soon entered into a relationship but something in him had changed.”

Millar initially forced her to have sex, hit her a “few times” and was “really quite rough”.

“I should have just walked out.”

But it wasn’t until April last year, that Ms Peden plucked up the strength to leave him.

She had been collecting her belongings from his home when he arrived at the property drunk.

“He grabbed me and took me through into the bedroom, saying I was going to give him sex,” she said.

“We started fighting when I said ‘no’ and he grabbed hold of my throat and started to squeeze. I kicked him hard in the jaw.

“But he came at me again and this time I couldn’t fight him off.”

Millar strangled her until she struggled for breath before attempting to rape her.

Ms Peden ultimately managed to break free and fled the house.

“I was completely terrified,” she said.

“I ran straight to my daughter’s house and she dragged me across the road to the police station.

“The police took me to a doctor to look at my neck. It was so bruised I couldn’t even swallow.”

She was too humiliated to tell police about the attempted rape but her testimony kick-started a wave of allegations against the predator.

“I’d kept it pent up for months,” she said. “It changed my whole life.

“I didn’t like going out any more. I kept myself shut up in my room and I didn’t communicate with other people – especially at work.

As the trauma mounted, Ms Peden suffered a breakdown at work and revealed to a colleague the horror of Mr Millar’s crimes against her.

“I’m just so glad that we’ve got him off the street,” said Ms Peden. “I’m glad that he can’t do this to another woman.

“He put me through hell. He put several women through hell. But in the end, I feel like I’ve got justice.

“I feel like all of those women have gotten justice.

“All of my anger is gone now and I’m just ready to put this all behind me. I’m ready to be happy again.”

Last month, the city annual social work review said there were a total of 5476 reports of domestic abuse last year – equal to 15 incidents every day – up from 5335 in 2012-13.

A crackdown on domestic abuse has been a central pillar of the newly-formed Police Scotland.

The clear-up rate for rapes doubled to 100 this year with police bosses crediting a new dedicated unit for the significant improvement.

nash.riggins@edinburghnews.com