Anthony Walker: Falkirk man who abused girls jailed for 12 years

A "sex predator" who abused young girls and then fled the country to escape justice has been jailed for 12 years.

This story contains descriptions some readers may find distressing.

Anthony Walker, 61, raped one child and used lewd and indecent practises towards all five victims between 1998 and 2007.

The children were aged between six and 13 when the abuse began, with one of the girls targeted up to the age of 15.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said Walker, of Falkirk, forced two of the girls to look at pornographic material before touching them indecently.

COPFS said he would walk into a bedroom when a number of the girls were in a state of undress and watched one as she pretended to sleep.

Walker also exposed himself to several of his victims and performed sex acts in front of them.

Judge Susan Craig said Walker was eventually charged in 2020, but had to be extradited from Bulgaria last year after he fled ahead of a first trial diet.

The judge said: "When it was reported, you denied abusing them, and no charges were brought at the time.

"You continue to deny your behaviour even now, but the evidence at trial was compelling.

"The victim impact statements make it clear that your abuse has blighted the lives of your victims and yet you show no remorse for, or recognition of, the seriousness of your crimes."

Judge Craig described Walker's crimes as "appalling predatory sexual behaviour against young girls".

Highlighting the criminal justice social work report, she said: "Quite properly that report recognises that the court will impose a substantial custodial sentence.

"It also observes that you continue to maintain your innocence and instead attribute a sinister motive to your victims.

"Such a motive was clearly and unequivocally rejected by the jury."

Walker was last month found guilty of seven charges following a trial at the High Court in Stirling.

He was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston on Tuesday.

Alongside the 12-year jail term, he was also added to the sex offenders' register indefinitely.

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Katrina Parkes, Scotland's procurator fiscal for high court sexual offences, said: "Anthony Walker posed a danger to young girls over the course of many years. He exploited his position of trust in the worst possible way.

"The trauma these victims suffered was at the forefront of our minds while working to secure this conviction.

"It is thanks to the bravery of those affected by Walker's offending that he has now been brought to justice. They should be commended for their bravery and courage."

Police Scotland said Walker will "now face the consequences of his despicable actions in prison".

Detective Inspector Forbes Wilson added: "I hope this sentencing gives the victims who came forward some comfort and allows them to move forward."