June 2023

Swimming pool pervert found guilty of molesting two young girls

An 82-year-old swimming pool pervert is behind bars after being found guilty of molesting two young girls in Angus.

Michael Haugh of Kirkgait, Letham was convicted at Dundee Sheriff Court of two charges of molesting young girls — on one occasion at Arbroath Swimming Pool — and taking and possessing hundreds of images of child abuse.

The octogenarian had denied performing a sex act on an 10-year-old girl following a period of grooming, which included buying her presents and taking her swimming, on various dates between 2014 and 2017.

He touched her buttocks and thighs, kissed her on the mouth and squeezed her breasts at locations including Arbroath Sports Centre.

He carried out penetrative sex acts on her.

He had tried to engage a second young girl – then aged 14 – in sexual activity at his home in Letham, Angus.

He made her wear a dress, grabbed her breast while she went to the toilet, and tried to take pictures of her in a “state of undress” between early 2010 and the end of 2011.

First offender Haugh, who walks with the aid of a stick, was told to expect a custodial sentence after a jury of nine women and five men found him guilty.

The paedophile tried to claim the girls were conspiring against him.

He went on to say he was convinced his youngest victim had been “coached” by the older one on what to say.

Haugh claimed his youngest victim was a “troubled child” and could not recall any incident at Arbroath Leisure Centre.

Depute fiscal Sarah Wilkinson challenged his claims as “outlandish”.

The jury took less than four hours to determine his guilt.

The jury also found him guilty of possessing and producing indecent images of children on his computer, again at his home address, between August 2012 and October 2019.

During the trial, the court heard how police experts found the depraved pictures on his computer.

Haugh had tried to use software to wipe his hard drive.

He claimed he used CC Cleaner on a regular basis to keep his computer in working order but it was used only once in 2019 — the day following a police visit in which they informed him he was under investigation.

Sheriff Paul Brown deferred sentence until July 27, for reports to be prepared and a restriction of liberty assessment to be carried out.

An application for bail was refused.