‘Justice has been a long time coming’ - Jail for schoolboy sex abuser who molested 10-year-old girl in Balerno playpark 18 years ago and later raped second girl

A schoolboy sex abuser who molested a younger girl at a play park 18 years ago before going on to rape a second victim has been jailed - and the victims’ mothers say they are “ecstatic” that justice has finally been served.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 4:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 4:56 pm

Steven Telford was aged 12 when he abused his first victim at a playpark in Balerno in 2003 when she was aged ten - but he struck again as a teenager.

He targeted the second girl from the age of 12 for sexual abuse between August 2007 and April 2009. During this time he exposed himsef to the underage girl, touched her, got her to perform a sex act on him and subjected her to rape.

Telford, now 30, denied a string of sex crimes during a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh but on Tuesday was found guilty by jury of five offences, including three charges of indecent behaviour and two of rape.

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Steven Telford was aged 12 when he abused his first victim at a playpark in Balerno in 2003 when she was aged ten

Following the guilty verdict, the mother of the second victim told the Edinburgh Evening News: “It was amazing to see him getting taken down in cuffs. It’s been a long time coming. I am absolutely delighted the jury has seen through him. He is a predator.”

Telford, of Deanpark Avenue in Balerno, abused his first victim at a playpark in Balerno between April 1 and May 28 in 2003.

He seized her by the clothing and pulled her to the ground before restraining her and molesting her.

The victim, now aged 28, told the court that she had gone to the park with friends while still a primary school pupil. She said: "We were playing at the park, just as it should be kids playing."

Her friends ran off when Telford and others turned up before he pulled her down by the back of her hoodie top.

She said: "I ended up on top, my back to his front. I remember his hand going down my trousers."

The woman said Telford molested her. She told prosecutor William Frain-Bell: "I just remember him saying to me if I tell anybody about it I will be dead."

She said that she kicked him and stood up and ran off and went straight to her bedroom when she got home.

Justice a ‘long time coming’

Also speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News after the guilty verdict, the 28-year-old woman’s mother said: “I am ecstatic that we have got justice for them, and they can finally hold their heads up now and say ‘we were right.’”

Her mother said at the time that Telford told police her daughter had started crying after falling off her bike. She said police kept the incident on file and, years later when the second victim contacted police about their experience, both cases were taken to court.

The mother said her daughter’s experience affected her ability to trust other people for several years and that she would often flinch when someone entered her personal space.

She said: “Justice has been a long time coming. The fact it’s been kept on record all of these years has helped the other victim, and they have also helped my daughter.

“In her (my daughter’s) own words, she is not letting him rule her life in the way she feels and thinks now, because he is not winning. She has won.”

The mother of the second victim said her child’s life had been “destroyed” by what happened and that they suffered from nightmares, flashbacks and mental health issues.

Telford was remanded in custody after the jury returned guilty verdicts against him on the five offences.

The trial judge, Lady Carmichael, deferred sentence for the preparation of a background report and placed him on the Sex Offenders' Register.

Sentencing is due on April 27.

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