A child molester who carried out a catalogue of sexual abuse against young girls over more than three decades has been jailed.
Richard McCormick targeted children as young as three as he carried out a string of offences in the Falkirk area.
Victims spoke to police in 2006 but attempts to trace McCormick (69) at the time proved unsuccessful.
His wife told police that they were getting divorced but bank transactions suggested he was already abroad with activity in Thailand in the Far East and Qatar in the Middle East.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard that he was believed to be working for oil companies and extradition proceedings were considered to be appropriate.
But in 2014 information showed that the former offshore worker was on a flight back to Britain and he was arrested at Heathrow airport and brought to Scotland.
He was later released on bail with conditions that he report to a police station and surrender his passport.
McCormick, of Kelvin View, Twechar, near Kilsyth, denied a string of charges at his trial, but was found guilty of eight indecency offences against five girls.
The sex predator began targeting girls in 1975 and continued offending against children up until 2006 at houses in Falkirk, Camelon and Denny and in a car.
One victim was subjected to his sex crimes from the age of three and another was only five or six when he molested her and exposed himself to her.
One 28-year-old woman told the court that as a child McCormick had visited her family home in Falkirk and was asked how she got on with him. She said: “On the outside everything was fine.......while inside I was completely terrified and hated him.”
She said the first incident she remembered was when she was about three. Her mother was hanging out washing and she was watching TV when McCormick turned up and asked if she wanted to sit on his knee.
“I shook my head and said ‘no’ but he picked me up and sat me on his knee anyway. I was squirming and trying to get back down but I could not because he had his arms round the front of my waist,” she said.
“At that point I just wanted to get as far away as possible as quickly as possible. Basically he kept me on his lap. It felt really uncomfortable,” she said.
She added that when she was sitting on his lap she felt something hard poking into her back and said: “It felt really horrible.”
She said that during her childhood she did not want to be in the same room as McCormick but he took his chances to perpetrate abuse on her.
“In the beginning when it was happening I was convinced I was to blame and thought it was something about me that made this happen,” she told jurors.
“I felt like I had the word ‘victim’ tattooed on my forehead,” she said. She said she had gone on to reveal that McCormick was “sneaking into my room and touching me when I did not want him to”.
Following his conviction for the sex crimes defence counsel Lorraine Glancy said: “Standing the verdict of the jury the only ultimate sentence can be a custodial one.”
The judge, Lady Carmichael, deferred sentence for the preparation of a background report. McCormick was put on the sex offenders’ register and remanded in custody.