14th November 2018
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Former councillor on trial after alleged rape and sexual assault

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Former North Isles councillor Robert Henderson has gone on trial accused of raping a woman 28 years ago.

Henderson, who stood down at the last council elections, is also said to have sexually abused two young girls in the 1970s in Yell.

The 73-year-old appeared at Aberdeen High Court yesterday to stand trial.

Henderson, who was elected as an independent councillor in Shetland in 2007 and again in 2012, denies the charges.

The two women, who he allegedly sexually abused when they were teenagers, both gave evidence in court yesterday.

The first of these, now in her fifties, claimed the behaviour began when she was in a vehicle with him.

She described to the jury how Henderson had invited her to take the steering wheel while he controlled the pedals.

Describing the moment, she said: “I was sitting in his lap steering and the next thing his hands came up over my breasts and he was holding my breasts. I froze, I felt sick.”

She claimed he repeated the behaviour regularly from when she was 11 until she was 16.

Representing Henderson, who lives on Yell, defence counsel David Moggach asked why the woman had been reluctant to speak to the police when first contacted about the issue.

She said: “I did not think I had the courage.”

Later yesterday the second of the women, also in her fifties, claimed Henderson had “groped” her “six or eight times” at a “conservative estimate.”

Advocate Depute Lisa Gillespie asked her if she remembered the first time it happened.

She replied: “No, it just happened now and again, it happened when we were alone.”

She was then asked: “Did you ever say anything to Mr Henderson about what he was doing?”

“I did not, I would now. I was too embarrassed.”

The trial, before Lord Kinclaven, continues.