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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 17:07 GMT
Paedophile gave crack to girl, 8
Hugh Leishman
Hugh Leishman made no reaction as the verdicts were read out
A paedophile drug addict who gave an eight-year-old girl crack cocaine has been jailed for five years.

The jury at Plymouth Crown Court took just one hour to convict Hugh Leishman, 60, of indecent assault, indecency with a child and cruelty to a child.

He was also found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice for trying to get her claims retracted.

The judge said the heroin and crack cocaine addict's record was one of the worst he had ever seen.

Allegations 'false'

The court heard that Leishman sexually abused the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, between February 2003 and April 2004.

Prosecutor Andrew Maitland said the abuse only came to light when the 16-year-old daughter of a family friend saw the young girl "doing something inappropriate" with a toy.

Giving evidence earlier in the trial, the child, now 10, described how Leishman held a crack pipe to her mouth.

She also said he had told her to stand up in the sitting room of his flat and remove her clothes before assaulting her.

Leishman told police in interview that he believed someone had "put up" the girl to make the allegations.

Plied with drugs

He was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice when the family friend came around to see him after he had been arrested in August last year.

On that occasion, Leishman threatened to kill her the abused girl and asked the friend to get the child on her own and convince her to tell the police the allegations were untrue.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC said Leishman's extensive criminal record, including a six-year sentence for attempted murder imposed at Glasgow High Sheriff's Court in 1965, was "one of the worst" he had ever seen.

Passing sentence, the judge told him: "A very aggravating factor is being found guilty of plying her with Class A drugs in order to achieve your sexual perversions upon her."

Leishman, of King Street, Plymouth, stood in the dock dressed in a black overcoat and made no reaction as the unanimous verdicts were read out.


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