Bus Driver Jailed For Abusing Boys

3 June 2015, 19:11 | Updated: 3 June 2015, 19:17

A "predatory" bus driver has been jailed for 13 years for a series of sexual offences against teenage boys over a 23-year period.

Gavin Bowie, 64, was found guilty at the High Court in Livingston in April of a total of 15 offences against 11 boys between 1977 and 2000.

His victims were all aged between 12 and 16.

Police said his job as a bus driver around Glasgow gave him the opportunity to befriend a number of his victims, who he invited to his house and offered cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and money in order to gain their trust before carrying out the abuse.

Sentencing Bowie today, Lady Wolffe described him as a "calculating and predatory individual" who has shown no remorse or understanding of the impact of his crimes.

Bowie, from Halifax, has also been put on the Sex Offenders Register.

Lady Wolffe said: "You have been found guilty after trial of various forms of indecent assaults on, and of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards, 11 young male complainers.

"In respect of several of these, you were also in a position of trust.

"The boys you preyed upon were all impressionable, young boys in their early teens.

"The evidence at the trial disclosed that you were a calculating and predatory individual, preying on the young and vulnerable for your own sexual gratification.

"From the evidence at trial, and from the several victim impact statements provided, it is clear that your prolonged sexual abuse has affected your victims: they describe having trust issues, difficulty forming relationships, anger, and having on occasion turned to alcohol or drugs to try to cope with the impact of the abuse they suffered at your hands. Their lives continue to be blighted by your actions.

"You continue to deny any responsibility and appear to have no understanding of the impact of your offending behaviour on the complainers or on society generally.

"Indeed, from its terms and from the evidence at trial, it is clear that you are a callous and selfish man, and that you wholly fail to understand or acknowledge the continuing impact your actions have had on the lives of your many victims."

Speaking after the sentencing, Jennifer Harrower, a procurator fiscal in the national sexual crimes unit, praised the bravery of Bowie's victims.

She said: "Gavin Bowie carried out a protracted campaign targeting boys solely in order to fulfil his own sexual gratification.

"His despicable actions have left permanent mental scars on some of his vulnerable victims.

"Thanks to the incredible bravery of his victims in coming forward to report what happened to them, it has been possible for us to bring him to face the full force of the law for his crimes.

"I would urge any victims of sexual crimes, even ones which occurred decades ago, to come forward and report them.

"They will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police, our expert prosecutors around the country and in our national sexual crimes unit, and we will do all we can to deliver justice."

Detective Chief Inspector Laura McLuckie said:

"Police Scotland welcomes today's sentence. We hope it brings some closure for the victims who have demonstrated incredible bravery in coming forward. Without them, I have no doubt that Gavin Bowie would have continued to prey on boys and young men.

"Police Scotland is committed to tackling child abuse in all its forms, no matter when it occurred. Bowie's offending took place over a prolonged period. He used his job as a bus driver to befriend boys aged from 12 - 16 years, grooming them and exploiting their vulnerability before betraying their trust and sexually abusing them.

"Those men live with the consequences of Bowie's selfish and predatory actions to this day. I hope this investigation and subsequent sentence helps bring them closure and that it encourages others, male and female, who may have suffered abuse to come forward. People should be reassured that if they report it, we will investigate it and we will work closely with our partner agencies to ensure they are fully supported.

"Our message to those who commit these offences is that there is no place to hide. We will work with victims and our partner agencies to ensure that they are brought to justice."