'Predatory opportunist' Edinburgh man convicted of sexually assaulting children and their mothers
A paedophile convicted of preying on girls has been branded a “predatory opportunist” who abused the trust put in him by the children's mothers.
Mark Campbell was convicted of sexually assaulting three youngsters when they were between eight and nine years old.
A jury at the High Court in Livingston also found him guilty of sexually assaulting and physically attacking the girls’ mothers.
Campbell, 39, was earlier acquitted of raping one of the two grown women after the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict him.
Campbell, from Edinburgh, had denied all the charges and lodged a special defence to the rape charge claiming the woman consented to sex with him.
Giving evidence in his own defence he denied abusing the youngsters and claimed one of the sexual incidents had been “accidental”.
'Clandestine Sexual Assaults'
However, after hearing evidence from all the complainers the jury found him guilty of three sexual assaults, three physical assaults – one involving a young boy – and one charge of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards a nine year old girl.
Advocate depute Jim Keegan told the court in his closing remarks that the girls had “painted a picture of predatory, opportunist sexual assaults on them when they were in the care of the accused, who was in a position of trust”.
He said there had been a sexual assault on one of the mums and her two children under 10, and violence against the woman’s son.
One of the accused’s former partners told the jury about his frequent temper tantrums, bad language, and controlling behaviour.
She said he was constantly shouting and would throw food over one of her daughters and slap her son and her other daughter.
Mr Keegan said the evidence showed the accused had used similar abusive behaviour towards a second woman and her daughter.
When the nine-year-old girl disclosed to her mum Campbell had been sexually touching her she was distressed and crying.
But when the mother confronted him he denied it, claiming he had fallen asleep while giving the youngster a cuddle – and the abuse stopped.
However, the girl told the jury that his behaviour was not a one-off but had endured for about a year, regularly amounting to more than she disclosed to her mother.
Mr Keegan said: “These were clandestine sexual assaults perpetrated by the accused on the complainer during the time she lived in Edinburgh.
“She was in his care when he was in a position of trust when he was supposed to protect her not abuse her.”
Another victim claimed he frequently assaulted her sexually for almost a year.
One of the girls said her sister tried to avoid the accused trying to cuddle her when she was older, aged about 14. She confronted the accused and made “snide comments” about his behaviour.
Mr Keegan explained: “She called him a paedo and he told her to shut up. He claimed it was in his sleep that something happened, and it was accidental.
“According to accused he laughed off the ‘paedo’ comment and the girl was a liar. She gave her evidence with no rancour, no hatred expressed, just a straightforward account of what he did to her.”
He said the sexual criminal behaviour continued after a gap of three years when Campbell started doing the same to another young girl, again when he was in a position of trust to protect her welfare.
Mr Keegan added: “She painted a picture not just of an opportunist but a risk taker who would take her upstairs and abuse her when others were in the house.”
He reminded the jury of text messages the accused had sent his victim the following day bragging about what he had done her.
Following the guilty verdicts on eight charges Lord Tyre ordered that Campbell’s name be added to the Sex Offenders’ Register with immediate effect and deferred sentence for 'Predatorbackground reports. He continued Campbell’s bail meantime.