A Creetown paedophile who abused two young girls will now appear at the High Court for sentencing after a local sheriff deemed the case too serious for local disposal.
Richard Tattam, 45, appeared before Sheriff Kenneth Robb at Stranraer Court on Tuesday to be told the case will be passed to higher powers.
Sheriff Robb said: “Having heard the details in depth and considered all the victim impact statements, I have taken the decision to pass this case to the High Court for sentencing.”
Sheriff Court sentencing powers are limited to imposing a maximum jail term of five years, unlike the High Court which has unlimited terms available. Sheriffs have the right to pass a case up if they feel it merits heavier punishment than the court can impose.
Tattam admitted in February to a string of sexual assaults on the girls, starting when one was aged just nine years old and living in Creetown.
The abuse continued for many years on both youngsters.
One of the girls attempted to call Childline five times during the period of abuse but was too scared to admit the truth, which was only revealed after one started seeing a boyfriend.
A source closely involved in the case said after Tattam’s initial appearance at Stranraer Sheriff Court: “The impact of his sexual abuse and serious assaults have devastated the lives of these children.
“The effects on their childhoods, education, friendships and relationships, self-confidence and self-worth has been immense. He has stolen their childhoods.
“They have been extremely brave in helping the police bring him to justice and I hope that the fact that this paedophile is now in custody will help them rebuild their lives.
“It has been a very hard year since the investigation began but they were assured by the police that this was a very strong case, and they have been helped through the ordeal by incredible kindness and support from many decent people.”
Tattam will now appear for sentencing before a judge at a later date.