Avonbridge sex offender jailed for 18 months

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A former member of Avonbridge Community Hall committee who sexually abused a schoolgirl after plying her with alcohol was jailed for 18 months.

Brian Mulgrew (57), a surveyor by trade, was sentenced by Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist at Stirling Sheriff Court today (Wednesday) after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting the 14-year-old girl, making sexual remarks to her, and giving her alcohol.

Mulgrew was originally due to be sentenced on July 4 but was absent from court after crashing his car into a wall on the A706 road to Garage House in Linlithgow.

Simon Hutchison, defence solicitor, said the accident was caused by side effects of the drug codeine Mulgrew had been prescribed for headaches which caused him to “suffer a blackout” at the wheel.

At an earlier appearance, the court heard Mulgrew drove the 14-year-old to the Avonbridge Community Hall, in Blackstone Road, in the middle of the night on May 25 last year after buying her and some of her friends a carry-out of alcoholic drinks including cans of caffeine-laced schnapps drink Dragon Soop and cider.

Procurator fiscal depute Cheryl Clark said the girl, who cannot be identified, thought Mulgrew was actually concerned about her welfare, but then she began to feel “uncomfortable and confused” by his questions and demeanour.

Mulgrew drove his victim to the community centre in Blackstone Road, Avonbridge, and parked outside the main entrance.

The girl knew he had some responsibility for running the hall and thought he was just going to pick something up, however, after checking the coast was clear, he pulled her top down and sexually assaulted her, telling her to pretend he was her boyfriend.

Miss Clark said: “She told him to stop and called him a creep and a paedo. He attempted to kiss her on the lips. He then ceased his actions and said, ‘I’m only kidding, hen’.”

Mulgrew then dropped his victim off with some of her other friends, and she told them, and later her mother, what had happened.

He later admitted giving the girl a lift and told police: “She was good looking and had big breasts.”

Officers found CCTV footage of Mulgrew driving into the car park with the girl despite Mulgrew claiming the CCTV at the hall was broken and had not been working for some time.

The court previously heard that because he had a previous conviction for a sexual offence in 1989 a custodial sentence was “more than likely.”

Mr Hutchison said Mulgrew described his assault on the schoolgirl as “a moment of madness” and had shown remorse for his behaviour.

He added that Mulgrew was formerly “an upstanding member of the community” and had helped save the Avonbridge Community Hall from closure a few years ago.

Addressing Mulgrew, Sheriff Gilchrist said that despite his previous analogous conviction being many years ago a custodial sentence was “inevitable”.

“These are very serious charges involving a young girl aged only 14 at the time,” he added.

Mulgrew was sentenced to 18 months in custody and was placed on the sex offenders register for ten years.