TWIN sisters raped and abused by their depraved uncle are living in fear of reprisal attacks – despite the paedophile being jailed for ten years.
John McCallum was caged at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday for subjecting nieces, Rachel Steadwood and Tracy Brown, 40, to eight years of sordid attacks when they were aged between five and 13.
But as the 53-year-old began his sentence, the victims’ family said they were terrified McCallum will “seek revenge” from behind bars.
Sick McCallum, who has links to the criminal underworld, is believed to have put word out he wants the women and their families to suffer.
One relative of the terrified twins said: “John McCallum is an evil, evil man. Now the family are expecting trouble. McCallum blames everybody but himself for what has happened to him. He’s put the word out that he’s going to be suffering in prison so he want others to suffer as well.
“He will seek revenge from behind bars.
“McCallum has associates who do his bidding, and our family are worried about what they’ll do. They might batter people or set fires. They have threatened our lives and they’re capable of killing. We’re all on high alert.”
Police today said they are continuing to investigate reports of witness intimidation aimed at stopping the twins and their family from testifying at the trial.
We revealed last month how both twins believe they were targeted by McCallum’s cronies in the run-up to the court hearing, with Rachel’s car subjected to a sinister vandal attack in July. The women have also been issued with panic alarms after receiving threats.
The intimidation, and the fact McCallum robbed them of their childhoods, has led both to believe he got off lightly with his ten-year stretch.
The relative added: “The twins are unhappy he didn’t get a longer sentence for what he put them through. I don’t think any sentence could be long enough for what he did to those poor girls.”
McCallum was convicted of abusing his nieces in his caravan at a Duddingston travellers site and in Loanhead, Midlothian, where the businessman also lived, between 1978 and 1987.
Neither victim knew that the other had been abused until two years ago. Both women had earlier disclosed the ordeals to GPs as they sought medical help for their trauma.
The relative said McCallum, who comes from a large traveller family, has maintained the loyalty of a number of associates despite his conviction.
The family member added: “McCallum’s putting it round that he doesn’t want to be housed with the other sex offenders in prison. He wants to be put in with the main population. He’ll never admit what he did.”
Yesterday, before sentencing was carried out, supporters of McCallum stood outside court with placards proclaiming his innocence.
As he was led from the dock, McCallum, of Straiton Road, Loanhead, also shouted: “I’m innocent. I’m an innocent man.”
Earlier, Judge Lord Boyd told him: “I note from the social inquiry report you believe you were convicted because of the presence of young women on the jury and because your defence team failed to act properly.
“However, you were very ably represented by senior and junior counsel. The offences for which you have been convicted of are grave ones, and must be marked by a substantial period of imprisonment.”
McCallum’s wife, Nicola, who is standing by him, called the twins “vicious, evil, lying dogs” as she left court.