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Station master awarded MBE abused children at care home

Trevor Francis found guilty by a jury of several physical and sexual assaults.

Guilty: Trevor Francis sexually abused children at home.
Guilty: Trevor Francis sexually abused children at home. Alan Richardson

A station master who was awarded an MBE has been convicted of sexually abusing children at a care home.

Trevor Francis was found guilty of two offences of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards young girls at St Margaret's Children's Home in Fife.

A jury also found the 71-year-old guilty of committing three assaults on residents of the Elie facility in the 1970s.

In 2012, Francis was awarded an MBE for services to the community in Aberdour, where he worked as a station master.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard three girls - aged 14 to 16 at the time- Francis would creep into their dormitory at the home in the night and sexually assault them.

A male resident at the home told jurors how he had once run away and got as far as Kirkcaldy where he was picked up by police and taken back. Francis took him into a laundry room and attacked him as punishment.

Other victims told how Francis slapped them in the face and beat them with a slipper in violent rages.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the jury: "He is a manipulative, violent and predatory person who abused the trust of these vulnerable people who he was paid to protect.

"But instead he perpetrated physical and sexual abuse towards them and managed to stay undetected because of his Jekyll and Hyde personality.

"The accused might seem mild mannered - an upstanding citizen, a family man. His wife was at pains to tell you that her Trevor would never have acted like that.

"We are dealing with an intelligent, manipulative man who can turn on and off that predatory, violent behaviour."

Giving evidence in his own defence, Francis said he was "relatively easy going" and claimed to have had a good relationship with the kids at the home.

He stated: "Come hell or high water they wanted me to watch Top of The Pops with them every week. It helped me relate to the kids and know about acts like Gary Glitter at the time.

"I suppose that's the wrong name to use today though."

He added: "Not in any situation would I have dreamed of doing what I'm accused of doing. It is totally inappropriate and totally wrong. But they say I did it."

Francis, of Manse Street, Aberdour, denied a total of nine charges on indictment.

However, a jury of eight men and seven women took two and a half hours to find him guilty by majority of five charges.

One further lewd and libidinous charge and three assaults were found not proven on Thursday.

Sheriff Alastair Brown deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and released Francis on bail meantime.

He said: "A prison sentence is a serious possibility."

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