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Man found guilty of raping fellow pupils at blind school

David Penman sexually assaulted pupils at the Royal Blind School, Edinburgh.

David Penman: Assaulted pupils at Royal Blind School from age of 12.
David Penman: Assaulted pupils at Royal Blind School from age of 12. Police Scotland / Lokal_Profil (CC BY-SA 3.0) / Cropped

A man has been convicted of raping and sexually assaulting blind children while he was a schoolboy.

From the age of 12, David Penman sexually assaulted numerous pupils at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh.

All of his victims, male and female, are blind or partially sighted, as he is.

Penman, now 42, attended the school between 1986 and 1991.

In September 2013, one of Penman's victims revealed he had raped her and a police investigation began.

Further victims then came forward to report the abuse they had suffered.

In February 2015, Penman was charged with 17 offences of rape, indecent assault and breach of the peace.

Penman denied the attacks on fellow pupils in the 1980s and 1990s but was convicted by a jury following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday.

He had previously been convicted of assault with intent to rape and rape in 2000.

Lord Uist said: "It is clear to me from the convictions which the jury have returned against you and your arrogant and dishonest performance in the witness box that you are a very evil man."

Lord Uist added it caused him "great concern" that acts of sexual crimes had continued into his adult life.

The case was adjourned until August 30 for a risk assessment to be carried out.

Detective inspector Kevin Harkins, of Edinburgh's divisional rape investigation unit, said: "This is an extremely unusual and disturbing case where a boy began committing the most serious sexual crimes against numerous classmates at the age of just 12.

"Penman's victims were amongst the most vulnerable young people and he left them too scared to speak up about what he was subjecting them to.

"His offences took place around the school grounds and our investigation built up a picture of a devious sexual predator who took particular care not to be caught by staff.

"I commend the bravery of all of his victims who not only came forward and made the difficult disclosure of what they had suffered, but had to then relive these awful experiences in court when Penman failed to take responsibility for his actions and denied all the charges.

"I hope that his conviction brings them some comfort."

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