The man who sexually assaulted a young boy and young girl in Shetland over a nine-month period was jailed for 13 years today when he appeared for sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Judge Lord Brodie made no mention of positive character references for Christopher Readings, 44, who made the children take the witness stand at his trial at the High Court in Aberdeen by denying the charges against him and continued to protest his innocence today.
The judge said: “Sexual abuse is cruel, it is selfish, it is damaging and in my view it falls to the courts to impose what is, frankly, a punitive sentence.”
Readings, who limped into court on crutches after injuring his leg in an accident while in prison, had been found guilty by a jury of a total of six charges alleging abuse at various places in Shetland between May 2008 and January last year.
The offences included sodomy, attempted rape and making the youngsters, aged 12 and 13, give him oral sex.
Defence QC Bill Taylor told the court that because Readings continued to deny the allegations made during the trial he had nothing to say about the offences.
But the lawyer produced references saying that Readings had been “of considerable service to the community”.
One was a scrapbook of photos and newspaper cuttings about his work helping women who had been the victims of sexual and other attacks.
Another was a letter from a senior police officer in Northampton praising Readings for risking his life by stopping at an accident on the M1 and tackling a blazing vehicle before emergency services arrived on the scene.
Mr Taylor also said that during the trial – while still on bail – Readings had used his “first aid qualifications” to give artificial respiration to a member of the public who collapsed in the street in Aberdeen.
Although Mr Taylor said the incident had been confirmed the Scottish Ambulance Service and Grampian Police said at the time that they had no record of the incident.
Lord Brodie made no mention of the references as he sentenced Readings, who had been living at a caravan park in Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire, until he was locked up at the end of his trial in Aberdeen.
The judge also made an order extending his licence conditions for three years and Readings’ name has been added to the sex offenders register.