Edinburgh child abuser let other men rape 5-year-old girl

Thomas Nelson was jailed for 'appalling child abuse'. Picture: Contributed
Thomas Nelson was jailed for 'appalling child abuse'. Picture: Contributed

A depraved child rapist who passed his five-year-old victim on for other paedophiles to abuse has been jailed for 12 years.

Former soldier Thomas Nelson, 54, committed a catalogue of degradation and sexual violence against children.

Sentencing him at Edinburgh’s High Court yesterday, Lord Uist told him: “The course of conduct in which you indulged towards the children in question was quite appalling.”

Lord Uist said that two of the six charges he was found guilty on were “particularly despicable”.

The judge said: “They involved you providing on several occasions a girl aged between four and six to other men so they could have sexual intercourse with her and on one occasion you had sexual intercourse with her yourself.”

Lord Uist told ex-chef Nelson: “You no doubt are aware that the offences of which you were convicted are of such a grave nature that they must attract a long prison sentence.”

Nelson, formerly of Pilrig Street, had denied two charges of raping the girl in 2002 and 2003, a charge of assaulting her by permitting and encouraging other males to have sex with her and rape her between 2001 and 2003 and a charge of physically assaulting her.

He was found guilty of all the offences apart from one rape charge on which the jury returned a not proven verdict.

He was also found guilty of assaulting two young boys and convicted of an indecency offence against another girl when she was 13 or 14 in 2006 and 2007.

Nelson abused children at houses in Granton, Broomhouse and Wester Hailes between 1994 and 2007.

He was put on the sex offenders’ register.

During his trial he admitted a further four charges of neglecting children who were exposed to drugs and weapons.

Lord Uist told jurors at the conclusion of the trial that it was a “particularly unpleasant and distasteful case”.

The jury was played harrowing footage of the rape victim, now 19, being questioned about “terrifying” abuse at the hands of Nelson.

Defence counsel David Nicholson told the court that his client had formerly served in Northern Ireland with the Army.

He said: “He struggled having left the Army and he thinks his addiction to drink started at that point. He has had serious alcohol problems ever since.”

Detective Inspector Donnie Macleod said attempts are ongoing to trace up to 20 men Nelson let rape his victim.

“This is one of the most appalling cases of child abuse I have seen,” he added.

“He was in a position of trust, yet Nelson systematically abused these children and their lives continue to be affected by the wilful neglect and horrifying acts he inflicted on them.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.