Jury finds brute guilty of sexually abusing girls

Cowan was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston
Cowan was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston

A violent, controlling brute who physically and sexually abused a woman and her daughters for years is facing a lengthy prison sentence.

James Moore (63) was remanded in custody and had his name added to the sex offenders’ register following his conviction at the High Court in Livingston.

He had denied two charges of raping the mum-of-five, but was found guilty of a single lesser charge of attempted rape.

He also denied sexually assaulting the woman’s niece and two of her daughters at houses in Falkirk and Whitburn when they were aged between five and 13.

However, the jury returned majority verdicts finding him guilty of all six sexual offences involving the family.

They also returned majority verdicts convicting him of brutal assaults on two of her daughters and her son, striking the boy on the body with a belt to his injury, starting when the youngster was just four years old.

He was also convicted of committing a breach of the peace on various occasions at an address in Carronshore by throwing food and drink at the walls, smashing windows and calling the woman and her kids derogatory names.

Judge Lord Kinclaven told Moore he was going to ask for a criminal justice social inquiry report including a risk assessment before passing sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh on December 20.

Lorenzo Alonzi QC, defending, asked the judge to continue Moore’s bail given that he had recently had a health scare. He admitted there was “a degree of inevitability” that the court would pass a custodial sentence.

Lord Kinclaven told Moore: “Your status has now changed and you now find yourself convicted in the High Court of a series of offences so between now and December 20 you will be remanded in custody.”

During Moore’s trial, the jury heard evidence from the woman he tried to rape that he was a controlling drunk, quick to anger and resort to violence.

Her daughters testified that he physically and sexually abused them while they were young.

They and their young brother said he used a leather belt to hit them with and groped them in their beds.

Moore took ill during the trial as one of his alleged victims told how he’d sexually abused her when she was aged six.

The nursing assistant, now aged 51, said Moore groped her while he and his wife were babysitting her at her former home in Blackburn, West Lothian, in the early 1970s.

She claimed Moore was reading her and her five-year-old sister a bedtime story when he slipped his hand into her underwear under the bed covers and sexually assaulted her.

She said she was too scared to tell other members of her family although she eventually told her mother what had happened.

Another grown women, now aged 35, wept as she recalled how Moore secured her bedroom door by tying a rope to the banister so she couldn’t go to the bathroom.

She said she was so scared by the “threat” of a belt he hung over her bedroom door she peed in her pencil case rather than leave the room.

The woman he is accused of raping said he constantly accused her of going with other men and didn’t even allow her to go out to a Tupperware party.

She claimed he raped her after she refused to have sex with him because her children were sleeping in the same room.

One other daughter said she’d heard her mum saying: “No; the weans, the weans,” before the alleged rape incident.

In addition to having his name put on the sex offenders’ register, the judge directed that Scottish Ministers be told of his conviction under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act.