Former boys’ brigade member jailed for child abuse

High Court in Edinburgh
High Court in Edinburgh

A former Boys’ Brigade member who rescued a younger boy after his canoe capsized was jailed for more than five years yesterday (Wed) after going on to abuse the child.

William Frew subjected the boy to a four-year ordeal that took place at houses in Dalkeith, in Midlothian, a tent near Peebles and at a Boys’ Brigade camp near Ayton in the Borders.

Frew (55) stopped the abuse when the boy turned 15 and started lashing out and kicking his tormentor.

But Frew targeted a second 10-year-old boy, who attended a school for children needing additional learning support, for sexual abuse 18 years later.

The then lorry driver befriended his parents before performing sex acts on him, including when the hysterical victim was in the cab of his vehicle. The boy stopped having contact with him when he was 14.

A judge told Frew at the High Court in Edinburgh: “It is clear your offending has had a significant effect on the lives of your two victims.”

Lord Boyd of Duncansby told him that he took into account that his offending had begun about 40 years ago when he was only 16 and would have been less mature.

But the judge added that his later abuse had commenced when he was a 38-year-old man and contained “a predatory element”.

Lord Boyd told the first offender: “I am satisfied you pose a low danger to the public and that you have led a useful life.”

But the judge said he would have jailed Frew, of Fells Rigg, Livingston, in West Lothian, for seven years if he had been convicted of the offences after a trial.

He jailed Frew for five years and three months after he earlier pled guilty to three indecency offences against the two boys. He was told he would be placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

Frew admitted abusing his first victim between 1977 and 1981 and the second child between 1999 and 2002 at addresses in Dalkeith and Livingston and in a parked lorry near Grimsby, in England, and in a car on a road between Danderhall and Niddrie.

The former Edinburgh Airport security officer had been a sergeant in the Boys Brigade when he met his first victim and became involved in the canoe rescue.

He took the victim to BB meetings on his motorbike and provided him with drink and cigarettes. The victim later tried to commit suicide when he was 21 and revealed to a girlfriend that he had been abused by Frew.

Advocate depute Ian Wallace told the court that the victim had been “severely affected” by the abuse and suffered anxiety and depression.

The second victim had also suffered depression and had been referred to psychological services and sexual abuse counselling but found it overwhelming.

Defence solicitor advocate Mike Bell told the court: “There can be no excuse for this type of conduct and none will be offered.”

Mr Bell said he would not argue for a disposal in the case other than imprisonment and said Frew would undergo various courses which would address his behaviour.

He said: “He intends, if he can, to work towards an early release.”