A SEX predator who used his ice cream van to lure young boys into his clutches faces a lengthy prison term.
Billy McGill recruited schoolchildren as “helpers” on his rounds in the van in West Lothian and got some of them to stay the night with him.
Youngsters were encouraged to sleep over at his caravan under the guise of early visits to a cash and carry the following morning.
But McGill, 51, would instead ply his victims with vodka before carrying out a catalogue of sex abuse.
Four of his five victims were plied with alcohol.
After a jury found him guilty of eight sex offence charges involving boys at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, a judge sent him to prison ahead of sentencing next month.
Lady Scott rejected a defence plea that McGill should remain on bail while a background report is prepared.
The judge said: “You have been convicted by the jury of a serious course of conduct involving sexual abuse of young boys.” She told McGill that it was inevitable that he faced a substantial prison sentence.
McGill, of Kirk Brae, Longridge, in West Lothian, had denied the offences committed between 1988 and 2002.
He claimed that he was the victim of an internet smear campaign by a rival ice cream seller.
The court was told that in 1988 McGill operated from an industrial estate at Addiewell, in West Lothian and had a caravan there.
One sobbing 37-year-old man, who like other victims cannot be identified, described giving evidence in court as the hardest thing he had done.
He told how he had just started secondary school when he helped McGill for about six weeks.
He said McGill invited him to stay and added: “He said it would be better for us to get up early in the morning to go to a cash and carry.”
McGill produced a half bottle of vodka and the victim said: “The next thing I knew, my trousers were down and he was performing oral sex.” McGill tried to molest him on a further occasion.
“I tried to kill myself when I was 15 years old because of this,” he told the court.
Another 26-year-old man said he was about 14 when he worked for McGill.
He said that sometimes there were gatherings in McGill’s caravan and he witnessed him molesting another boy.
He said: “I remember they were in bed and obviously having intercourse and touching.”
McGill also tried to have sex with him, but he did not report it at the time.
One witness spoke of cannabis being passed around and a 31-year-old man said he woke to see McGill having sex with another youth. “The caravan was shaking, I know that,” he told the trial.
He claimed he took McGill’s mobile phone and went outside to call the police. “They basically laughed at me and told me to get back to bed,” he said.
Other former van boys who worked for McGill gave evidence for him and said he had not made advances to them.
McGill was placed on the sex offenders’ register.