Byline: Dave Finlay
A FORMER outdoor activities instructor who sexually abused deaf boys in his care was jailed for 12 years yesterday.
Victims and their families applauded as a judge told Colin Macdonald his crimes demanded a lengthy prison sentence.
Macdonald, 61, from Glasgow, had been convicted at an earlier hearing of molesting and sexually attacking ten boys between 1973 and 1981.
At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, Lord Malcolm told the former skiing and climbing instructor: 'You sexually abused and assaulted vulnerable deaf children who were entrusted to your care on expeditions in isolated places far from their homes.
'Over several years, you took advantage of your power as their leader for your own gratification.
'You had no regard to the damage being done to them. It is clear you have refused to accept full responsibility for your disgraceful assaults upon them and even tried to blame some of them for your current position.' Macdonald, who is himself deaf, abused the boys during expeditions and camping trips to the Highlands and islands and in Glasgow.
During a police interview, he claimed the boys who spoke up were 'troublemakers'.
But he was found guilty of ten offences after a trial at the High Court in Kilmarnock, during which victims had to relive their ordeals.
Lord Malcolm said he took into account Macdonald's age, the fact he was a first offender and that he has had no convictions since the time of the offences.
But he added: 'There is no doubt in my mind that, given the nature and gravity of your offences and the breach of trust towards vulnerable young people in your care, I must take a very serious view of this matter.' Paul Burns, defending, had said prison would be very difficult for Macdonald, who would find himself in a very isolated position.
But Lord Malcolm said: 'It may be that, given your difficulties, prison will be an especially difficult environment for you.
'However, all offenders will cope well or badly with imprisonment depending upon their own particular circumstances and personality.
'In any event, you had no concerns for the special vulnerability of the children you assaulted and abused.' The judge also placed Macdonald on the Sex Offenders' Register and said he would refer him to the Scottish ministers as a person unsuitable to work with children.
Afterwards, victims who had waived their right to anonymity welcomed the sentence.
George Drinnan, 45, of London said: 'I am very, very happy. He deserved it. I hope that he dies in prison.' James Colhoun, 48, of Glasgow, said: 'I had expected seven or eight years. To be told 12 years was fantastic.
'We have suffered and we are still suffering. It will be in our minds forever.' And Joseph McIntyre, 46, of Balloch, Dunbartonshire, said: 'I feel really good, ecstatic. I hope he goes to Hell.'
Gale Document Number:CJ187586583