HMA v IAN SAMSON

At the High Court in Glasgow Lady Scott sentenced Ian Samson to 14 years in prison after he was convicted of sexual abuse.

On sentencing Lady Scott made the following statement in court:

“You have been convicted of 22 offences involving the sexual abuse and rape of 12 children over a period of many years.

The overwhelming evidence in this case demonstrated that you are a prolific predatory and violent sexual offender who poses a serious danger to all children and vulnerable youngsters. I have formed the distinct impression that you have organised and conducted your whole life in order to gain access to children and to perpetrate sexual abuse – working in a boys hostel, then a children’s home; running an ice cream van; employing children in your shop ; hunting down children hanging about the streets in your locality and  drawing them into your house with the supply of free drink and cigarettes.  You appear to have seized every conceivable opportunity to abuse a child.

The offences of which you have been convicted reflect a wicked campaign or course of conduct persistently pursued to abuse children over a period of years. The sheer length of this course of conduct – over 30 years -  is an important factor in determining the appropriate sentence here.

You held a position of trust over many of your young victims as their surrogate ‘dad’ or uncle; or as their employer.  I consider you were motivated to place yourself in that position of trust with the intent of abusing it and gaining access to and power of your victims. 

The sexual violence you visited on your young victims was not only prolific but also very serious in nature. It involved many rapes and instances of penetration.   The court heard moving testimony from witnesses  from the children’s  home who hid in cupboards and slept in dog baskets, or staff doorways, in an effort to escape you visiting abuse upon them in their beds at night. 

Most seriously you targeted and separated out from the children, the first victim on the indictment and abused her for over 10 years. You controlled her from a young age and your serial sexual abuse of her began when she was too young to understand what was happening to her and escalated to repeated rapes on an almost daily basis.  Your persistence  is demonstrated in the evidence that when this girl was removed from your care in the home you persuaded her to run away and then detained her in a flat for about a week, in order to rape and abuse her.  When she was older you controlled her through violence and assaults. The fact that, free from you, she has managed to build a life for herself is a testament to her strength of character and courage.

Your predatory impulse in seizing any opportunity is clearly shown in charge 23 by your rape of a girl who called by arrangement to your house.  You laid in wait, seized her, dragged her into the bedroom and despite her fighting throughout, you pinned her down and raped her.

I have listened to what has been said on your behalf.  Your previous convictions confirm your prolific sexual offending.  In respect of your last conviction for which you received an extended sentence I note from the background report, that you were twice recalled to prison following breaches of your licence conditions.  You are assessed as a posing a very high risk of serious harm. I have no doubt you present a serious danger to children and young people. 

However because of the age of these offences my sentencing powers are very limited.  The only sentence that I can impose to reflect this appalling course of conduct is a determinate sentence.

The only mitigation is your age. You are now 72 years old and I have taken your age upon release into account in reducing the length of the sentence which I would have otherwise imposed. 

In respect of each of the statutory charges 4, 22, 24, 25, 27 and 28 I sentence you to 2 years imprisonment to run concurrently to the sentence imposed in respect of the other charges. In respect of the remaining common law charges – charges  1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, 29 and 31 -  I sentence you to a cumulo period of 14years imprisonment.  

You will be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for an indefinite period.  

Before adjourning I would like to make the observation that there were circumstances led in evidence in this trial which appeared to suggest a failure in the protection of the child victims who gave evidence in this case.  For example:

  • the fact that whilst resident in the Lord and Lady Polwarth Children’s  Home you remained in a position of trust over children despite an incident where it is was suspected – correctly -  that you had taken obscene photographs  of a child within the home;
  • the fact that you remained in the home notwithstanding your being convicted of 10 charges for indecent exposure during your time there; 
  • the fact that when you left the home, you took the first victim with you, without any apparent concern being raised;
  • the fact that the first complainer reported her abuse in 1991 and as she described in evidence she was not believed.

Such circumstances may be a reflection of the fact that this conduct was historic and standards and understanding have undoubtedly changed, nonetheless there may have been a failure of protection here which ought to be reflected upon by all the agencies that were involved.