May 2022

Man who repeatedly raped his stepdaughter guilty

A man who repeatedly raped his stepdaughter has been found guilty

James Freeman, 49, even grinned and laughed as he was handcuffed after his conviction

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Freeman made the admission following his conviction earlier this year on rape and sexual assault charges.

Freeman, of Portsoy, Aberdeenshire, was found guilty earlier this year following a trial at the High Court in Aberdeen.

Jurors found him guilty of sexual assault and two rape charges. They heard evidence of how Freeman had abused the then child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, between May 2013 and 2017.

Jurors heard how he first sexually assaulted the girl at a caravan park in Sutherland when she was aged just 10 or 11 years old.

Freeman also raped the child on various occasions at addresses in Aberdeen, Banff and the north of Scotland when she was aged just 11 or 12.

He also raped her, on various occasions, while she was between 13 and 15, at locations in Banff, Nairn and even a derelict building in Portsoy.

The court heard how Freeman pushed and held the child down on a bed, tied her arms together, blindfolded her and raped her.

Freeman had denied the charges against him and did not react as the jury returned their verdicts.

However, as security officers put handcuffs on him he began to grin and laugh.

Judge Simon Collins QC had deferred sentence for the court to obtain a criminal justice social work report on Freeman. He added: A substantial custodial sentence is inevitable in this case, and the accused will be remanded in custody pending sentence.

However, at the High Court in Edinburgh, Mr Kerrigan has now asked the court to further defer sentence for a psychologist to assess his client.

He said Freeman, who observed proceedings via video link from prison, had a history of mental health problems and had previously been treated in hospital.

Mr Kerrigan added: There are no words of mine which can effectively mitigate the acts which he has been convicted of.

Judge Collins further deferred sentence on Freeman for the court to obtain a psychological report.

He will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on July 5 2022.