September 2023

Kirriemuir groomer plied schoolgirl, 12, with cigarettes and alcohol

An army veteran plied a 12-year-old girl with cigarettes and alcohol and repeatedly molested her at remote locations around Kirriemuir.

Sinister John Tervet lured the youngster to secluded spots with promises of alcohol, sent her sexual images of his crotch and boxer shorts and told her: “Come alone.”

The horrific abuse continued for five months, until the girl plucked up the courage to tell her family.

Tervet, 58, denied any wrongdoing and told police his victim vengefully made up allegations because he refused to buy her drink for a party.

Following a week-long trial at Forfar Sheriff Court, a jury rejected Tervet’s claims and found him guilty of a series of sex crimes against the youngster.

He was also convicted of sexually assaulting an adult woman two years earlier.

After returning their verdict, jurors were applauded by the girl’s family, who said in a statement afterwards: “We have been fighting for this for the last six years. Today we’ve finally got the decision we wanted but it shouldn’t have had to take so long.”

Tervet’s conviction was partly secured by a written statement read out during the trial from the girl’s mother, who died before the case came to court.

Tervet – in the words of his young victim, a “total weirdo” – was convicted of sexually assaulting her several times at secluded spots around Kirriemuir, including a lay-by near Caddam Woods.

He kissed her on the lips, touched her breasts over her clothing, lowered her trousers and underwear and kissed her on the body.

The abuse – all carried out in silence – began in January 2017 and continued until May that year.

Tervet was further found guilty of intentionally meeting the then 12-year-old and trying to engage her in unlawful sexual activity.

He sent her sexual messages and culpably and recklessly supplied her with cigarettes and alcohol.

Tervet was also found guilty of twice sexually assaulting a Kirriemuir woman who had employed him as her gardener in the summer of 2015.

The court heard Tervet’s young victim was the daughter of a family friend. The teenager said he forced himself on her five times.

Letford told jurors: “She was 12 years old when this conduct started. And it continued after her 13th birthday, until she eventually told her brother and mother.”

When asked why she did not report the abuse sooner, the victim – now 19 – said she was scared and did not want Tervet to get into trouble. But she confronted him and he told her he would stop. “He did not stop,” said Mr Letford.

In a statement read out by witness PC Amy Donaldson, the victim’s mother told investigators how she initially trusted Tervet.

He used to take her daughter out in his car, she said. However, she was concerned her little girl “looked flushed in the face” when she returned.

She later challenged Tervet after her daughter told her what had been going on and demanded to know: “What have you been doing with my daughter in the woods?”

Tervet denied he had touched the girl and said he never used Snapchat.

When his then wife found a Snapchat account attached to his email address, he said: “Someone must have hacked me.”

Tervet, of Sidlaw Range, Kirriemuir, shook his head in apparent disbelief when the jury returned its verdict.

Sheriff Krista Johnston placed Tervet on the sex offenders register and deferred sentence for background reports. He was released on bail.