At the High Court in Glasgow on 13 February 2015, Judge John Beckett QC imposed an extended sentence of 18 years imprisonment on David McLeish – a custodial term of 12 years and an extension period of six years on licence – after the accused was found guilty of multiple charges of rape and sexual abuse.

On sentencing, Judge Beckett made the following statement in court: 

“David William McLeish, I take into account what has been said on your behalf and the contents of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report.  I recognise that you have not previously been sent to prison and that you have a limited record of previous convictions, all dealt with at summary level. 

However, you pursued a campaign of sexual abuse and domestic violence spanning 13 years from 1996 until 2009. Through guile, manipulation, threats and bullying you managed to avoid being brought to account until now on the sixteen charges of which you have been convicted. 

Whilst I do not doubt that your domestic arrangements were at times difficult, you substantially added to those difficulties by meting out excessive levels of violence which purported to be punishment to seven different children. Your ‘punishments’ were cruel, humiliating and in some instances brutal.

You persistently sexually abused two of your child victims, one of whom was subjected to repeated acts of rape which were carried out with increasing regularity from the age of nine to 15. You stole her childhood and she has suffered the effects of what you did throughout her adult life. You raped her again when she was 16 and pregnant, although in the light of the evidence I proceed on the basis that you did not know that she was pregnant. You sexually abused another child when her mother was away from home in hospital looking after your child. 

Your abuse of these children represents a gross breach of trust. Seven childhoods were blighted by what you did. Instead of nurturing and protecting children, you violated them. It is to their great credit that they found the courage to speak out against you and the strength to rebuild their lives. 

In 2000, you raped one partner when she was pregnant and you knew that she was pregnant. That partner was also assaulted twice by you, causing injury. You raped another woman with whom you lived in 2009, subjecting her to violence and considerable pain. 

Your violent and abusive conduct has had profound and enduring effects on your victims, but you have shown no insight and no remorse for what you did. Such is the gravity of these crimes that there is no alternative to a very lengthy prison sentence in order to punish you, to mark the gravity of your crimes and to express society’s abhorrence of such conduct, and to seek to deter you and others from using violence and sexual violence against women and children. 

Having regard to the pattern of these crimes when viewed as a whole, and the contents of the report and its assessment of the risk that you present, in my judgement you represent a substantial risk of causing serious harm from which it is necessary to protect the public. I do not consider that the ordinary period of licence would offer sufficient protection of the public from serious harm by you on your release from prison. 

For these reasons, I am imposing an extended sentence of 18 years with a custodial term of 12 years and an extension period of six years for the duration of which you will be under licence on conditions fixed by the Scottish Ministers. 

If during this extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence it may be revoked by the Scottish Ministers and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this case. 

Sentence will be backdated to 16 January 2015 when you were remanded in custody.

The Clerk of Court will notify the Scottish Ministers of the details of your conviction so that they may determine if you are to be included on the list of persons unsuitable to work with young people. You will be subject to notification requirements indefinitely.”