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Campaign launched to show strength of feeling against possible early release of Inverness paedophile

By Louise Glen

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Robert McGregor.
Robert McGregor.

A petition launched to stop the early release from prison of a vile sex offender from Inverness has gained the support of almost 750 people.

The petition on change.org is demanding that Robert McGregor (39) formerly of Friars Street is not offered early release, something the organiser believes will be on the cards once he has served two-thirds of his sentence in 2024.

The petition was launched to gather community support against his early release and to give evidence to the parole board when they meet to consider his case.

McGregor, a delivery driver, was sentenced to 10 years in jail at the High Court in Edinburgh in April 2017 – after he pled guilty to his crimes.

McGregor admitted six offences at the High Court, which included three charges of raping three boys, sexually assaulting one youngster, making indecent photos of children and distributing or showing indecent photos. His sex assaults spanned more than a decade between 2001 and 2014. His youngest victim was aged just three.

The child pornography offences took place between 2011 and March 2016.

The parent who set up the petition said: "A dangerous paedophile is being given an opportunity to be released soon and we are petitioning to stop this happening.

"McGregor is a dangerous serial child abuser and a manipulative, dangerous and deceiving individual."

Explaining that McGregor will have the right to petition the parole board for release, the parent wants to make sure the strength of feeling from the community is heard by members of the judiciary who will hear his case.

The parent, who said there were many more victims who had not yet come forward, said: "The law in Scotland gives him the right to be liberated after two-thirds of that sentence and this petition has been created to show the judge dealing with him why he should not be released at this time."

The petition states: "Please support us in this fight to protect our communities and all the vulnerable people in them. This is a battle worth fighting for all of us and your support is very much appreciated."

Another parent, who did not want to be named, said: "McGregor should never be released from jail. He tricked people into making him part of their family and then did disgusting things to children that can never be forgotten. He should rot in jail."

McGregor, a former Charleston Academy pupil, was jailed for 10 years after what was described by the judge Lady Carmichael in court as an “appalling” series of crimes against young children over a 13-year period.

The rapist’s depraved behaviour included filming his horrific abuse and creating videos others could watch.

His crimes finally came to light when he was caught with a cache of child pornography, which led police to identify three victims. More than 2000 indecent photos and 899 videos were recovered, many containing material at the most extreme level.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lady Carmichael said his offending was “of the most serious and appalling nature”.

During her sentencing, Lady Carmichael pointed out that the predator had formed relationships with families in order to gain access to children he then abused.

The judge said he should be kept under supervision for a further five years on release.

The Parole Board said they would not comment on individual cases.

An NSPCC Scotland spokeswoman said: “Child sexual abuse can have profound and long-lasting effects on people’s lives and it is crucial that specialist support and treatment are made available for those who have experienced such atrocities.

“It is also vital that people concerned about a child’s safety know how to get help, and that children and adults who have experienced sexual abuse have somewhere to turn, with the knowledge they will be listened to.”

Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000, while Childline is there for young people on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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