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Rapist who struck in Inverness and Moray jailed for eight years at High Court in Edinburgh


By Court Reporter

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Edinburgh High Court.
Edinburgh High Court.

A PROLIFIC predator was jailed for eight years today (Friday) after grooming underage girls during a catalogue of sex crimes against 10 victims in Inverness and Moray.

A judge told Matthew Watson (36) that his behaviour was "utterly despicable" and was motivated by his desire to use them for his own sexual gratification.

Lord Richardson said that it was clear that his actions have had a profound and long-lasting effect on some victims.

The judge told Watson at the High Court in Edinburgh: "As you will surely recognise a lengthy period in custody is the only appropriate sentence I can pass on you to reflect your appalling conduct."

"You subjected each of these women to deeply distressing experiences," he told the sex offender.

Lord Richardson ordered that Watson should be under supervision for a further five years following his imprisonment.

The court heard that Watson of Mannochmore, Thomshill, Elgin, in Moray, was assessed as posing a high risk of reconviction for sexual offending.

Lord Richardson said that a background report prepared on the rapist revealed that he continued to deny responsibility for the most serious crimes he was convicted of.

Watson was earlier found guilty of five offences by a jury, including three charges of rape and one of assault with intent to rape. He admitted a further 13 offences, including indecent conduct and underage sex.

The offending occurred between 2005 and 2018 and took place in Moray, Elgin and Inverness.

One girl told police that shortly after her 14th birthday she had a friend's request made to her by Watson through Facebook.

His messages to the schoolgirl quickly became flirtatious and then became increasingly sexual. He asked for naked pictures and as a result of his persistence she sent him a topless photograph. Watson responded with pictures of his naked torso and penis.

He went on to pick the child up in his car and drove her to a wooded area for sex on two occasions. Another 14-year-old was kissed, molested and subjected to rape in a car by Watson at a location in Inverness.

Defence counsel Herbert Kerrigan QC said: "He requires to avail himself of all opportunities which are given within prison to engage in a pattern of rehabilitation."

"He must appreciate that he cannot be involved, not simply with those under 16, but with girls and young women of tender age," he said.

Watson was told that he will be placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely.

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