John O'Flaherty: Notorious Edinburgh paedophile could face life behind bars

An serial Edinburgh paedophile who was branded a ‘total monster’ by one of his victims could face a life sentence after he was convicted of further charges of sexual abuse against children and adult women.

By Stephen Wilkie
Friday, 6th May 2022, 11:37 am

John O'Flaherty preyed on vulnerable victims for more than a decade in Edinburgh in a catalogue of indecency and rape.

O'Flaherty was jailed for 13 years in 2017 for the rape of two girls in his home city as part of a paedophile ring.

Following his further convictions for historical sex crimes today a judge called for a detailed risk assessment to be prepared on him which can lead to the imposition of an Order for Lifelong Restriction.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

O'Flaherty: Paedophile ring member was described as a 'total monster' by one of his victims

O'Flaherty, 65, and his deceased accomplice Billy King abused on one youngster from the age of 10 in 1984.

Advocate depute Lisa Gillespie said they must have had a "dream job" for any youngster as they worked at an ice cream van.

The child victim was repeatedly abused and raped by the pair and would be dropped off with extra sweets.

The abuse of the girl went on for two years and included her being raped in the ice cream van, at a flat in Pennywell and at a lock up near to Granton.

O'Flaherty also raped a teenager after she went to bed after drinking at a flat in Longstone on I January 1996 after hearing the bells at a Hogmanay party.

He came into the room and was told to leave but put a hand over her mouth and restrained her before subjecting her to a sex attack.

O'Flaherty also subjected an adult woman to repeated rapes at houses in North Edinburgh between 1980 and 1992 where the victim was left shouting and screaming during her ordeal.

He also slapped and punched the woman and on one occasion chased her while he was brandishing swords at her

O'Flaherty had denied a string of charges at the High Court in Edinburgh but was found guilty of three rape charges, three indecency offences against children and an assault.

The trial judge, Lord Summers, placed him on the Sex Offenders' Register and he was remanded in custody while a report is prepared on him.

He was brought to justice after the victims, who are now all adults, came forward to report the abuse they suffered.

The survivors were aged between 7 and 32, when they were preyed upon by O’Flaherty.

Specialist officers from Edinburgh’s Public Protection Unit spent more than two years gathering evidence before he O’Flaherty was arrested in June 2020, with further charges added over the following months.

Detective Inspector Jonny Wright said: “For more than two decades John O’Flaherty targeted young woman who lived within, or frequented, the North of Edinburgh and subjected them to horrific levels of sexual abuse.

“The impact of his offending had a significant and long-lasting effect on communities within the North and had it not been for the outstanding courage of these women in coming forward, then O’Flaherty would not have been brought to justice.

“I want to thank each survivor of O’Flaherty’s abuse for their strength during our investigation and I also wish to acknowledge the outstanding work of the detectives and criminal justice partners who worked so diligently to ensure this case reached a successful conclusion.