Mother’s horror as she returns home to find paedophile groping daughter

Bruce Henderson appeared in court today
Bruce Henderson appeared in court today

A paedophile who preyed on a 10-year-old schoolgirl has had his name added to the sex offenders’ register.

Bruce Henderson, 53, was caught after the girl’s mum returned home unexpectedly on March 13 and found him groping her daughter in his bed.

The youngster – who was just weeks away from her 13th birthday – looked “shocked”, prosecutor Jim Robertson told Livingston Sheriff Court.

She broke down in school the following day before eventually disclosing the details of her long-term abuse at his hands to her mother, he said.

Henderson, of Mayfield, Dalkeith, claimed the sexual abuse was “an accident” and only happened a couple of times.

However he pleaded guilty on Monday to sexually assaulting the youngster on various occasions over a two and a half year period from September 2014 until March 2017.

He admitted committing the offence at addresses in Whitburn and Bathgate, West Lothian, while she was in his care, the court heard.

Henderson admitted kissing the girl on the mouth, placing his hands under her clothing and handling her private parts.

The first offender had the case against him adjourned for background reports.

He was told he would learn the length of time he will be subject to registration as a sex offender when he returns to court for sentence on April 6.

Mr Robertson said the complainer had been off school feeling unwell on the day her mother caught Henderson in the act of abusing her.

She had taken her laptop through to the bedroom where Henderson, who was also unwell, was lying in bed and there she was indecently assaulted by him.

He told the court: “It would appear they were disturbed by the return of the complainer’s mother. She entered the bedroom, she found the accused lying on the right hand side of the bed on top of the covers and the complainer sitting up up against the pillows.

“She recalls the complainer looking shocked and the accused saying he was having a lie-down for an hour.”

The following day, he said, the mother fetched her daughter from school after teaching staff called to say the girl was upset and asking for her.

She did not disclose to the school why she was upset.

Mr Robertson said: “When asked what was wrong she initially would not say anything but then did state: ‘(The accused) has been touching me inappropriately’.

“The mother asked daughter if she had been touched ‘down below’ and she replied ‘Yes’ and told her the last incident had occurred the night before.

“The complainer then was visibly upset and went into more detail about what had been happening over a period of time.

“There was then a confrontation between the accused and the mother during which the mother told him her daughter had disclosed she’d been sexually abused.

“He initially stated: ‘No’ then went on to state ‘It maybe happened by accident.”

Mr Robertson said social work and police officers were brought in to conduct a joint forensic medical examination.

The complainer was interviewed and basically complained about this behaviour from the dates on the libel and in the circumstances that these were the actions of the accused on a number of occasions.

He was detained and interviewed, and during the course of the interview made various admissions that “inappropriate behaviour had taken place of a sexual nature” had taken place in the manner she had described.

Glenn Fraser, defending, said he would reserve his plea in mitigation until the sentencing date.

Sheriff Douglas Kinloch told Henderson: “As a matter of law a background report must be obtained before sentence is passed therefore I won’t deal with your case today.

“The case will be continued to allow the background report to be obtained. You’ll remain at liberty on bail in the meantime.”