Paedophile jailed for attacking two more Edinburgh care home victims

Gordon Knott was handed a four-year jail term at the High Court in Edinburgh
Gordon Knott was handed a four-year jail term at the High Court in Edinburgh

A NOTORIOUS paedophile who preyed on vulnerable children in Edinburgh’s care homes was jailed for four years today after two more victims came forward.

Gordon Knott was originally sentenced to 16 years imprisonment in 1997 after he was convicted of 10 sex crimes against eight boys and a girl in Edinburgh’s Clerwood and Glenallan children’s homes in the 1970s and 1980s.

But after a decade of freedom following his release in 2008, he was imprisoned again after two further victims spoke to police about the abuse they suffered from him while in care.

The men testified at a new trial at the High Court in Edinburgh that they had also been targeted by Knott in sex crimes.

Both said that as children in the local authority care system, they were made to carry out sex acts on the man employed to look after them.

A jury earlier found Knott, 64, guilty of three charges of indecency against the two victims committed at Clerwood, at Arthur’s Seat and at an address in the Liberton area between 1973 and 1981.

A judge told Knott: “You have been convicted by the jury of the repeated, calculated and predatory sexual abuse of two young boys while you were responsible for their care in children’s home.”

Lady Scott pointed out that the former house father had terrified victims and that rather than protecting them he had abused them.

The judge said that she took into account that he had not re-offended since his release from the earlier sentence and had been of good behaviour, but rejected a defence submission to spare him a prison term.

The abuse of one boy began when he was aged five. He told the court that on one occasion, Knott had taken him to Arthur’s Seat on the back of his motorbike and after parking him took him up the hill.

He said Knott sat on the grass and pulled him close. He added: “If I had a gun I would have shot him. I would have done anything to get away from him.”

Knott made him perform a sex act on him and he said: “I was crying at the same time but it didn’t stop him.”

He said that afterwards his abuser drove him back to a care home and added: “As far as I can recall I went straight up to my bedroom crying me eyes out.”

The man, now 49, said that Knott had also molested him at Clerwood by touching him inappropriately while showing him a wrestling hold.

He said that Knott appeared to always be nice to everyone but said: “He just seemed like a really nice person at the time if you didn’t know him deep down.”

The second victim, also 49, was also abused from about the age of five and said he left care as a teenager. He said: “Once I was old enough I just left, got away from Edinburgh, got away from Scotland.”

The man, who now lives in Ireland, said he had absconded from the Clerwood home. He was asked by advocate depute Alan Cameron why he had run away and replied: “At the time I didn’t know. I know now I was trying to get away from the abuse.”

He said there were regular weekend wrestling sessions at the home organised by Knott in an outbuilding and he always appeared friendly and attentive to the children.

But he was taken to the outbuilding and stripped and the house parent would start wrestling and touching him and got him to perform sex acts on him.

He said: “It was always the same routine. We would wrestle, he would start interfering with me. He would orgasm.” He said that Knott had also abused him at old air raid shelter.

On one occasion the children from the home were taken on an outing by taxi drivers but he was devastated when Knott told him he could not go on the trip. Instead he was subjected to further abuse by the man he used to look up to “like a father figure”.

He said he was too scared to tell anyone about what was going on and was told that if it was found out he would be split up from siblings who were also in care.

He said that as he grew older he tried to put it all behind him and “blacked it out” but as his first child grew older it brought back a lot of memories. “I though maybe I needed to say something so I phoned the police,” he said.

Knott’s latest trial was initially halted and then resumed with a new jury after one victim said at the end of his evidence: “I hope you get convicted again.”

Knott, of Carstairs Road, Carstairs, in Lanarkshire, had denied the latest charges to be brought against him following the two victims making contact with police, but was earlier found guilty of the offences.

Defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder said Knott had acted as a carer following his release from his previous jail sentence and added that a report prepared on him highlighted he could be managed in the community.

Knott was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.