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HMA v Eric Simpson


Sep 16, 2021

At the High Court at Paisley today, Lord Arthurson sentenced Eric Simpson to eight years’ imprisonment after the offender was found guilty of a series of sexual offences against children and young women in his capacity as an athletics coach.


On sentencing, Lord Arthurson made the following statement in Court:

“Eric Simpson, on 5 August 2021, at the High Court at Edinburgh you were convicted by a jury of a series of sexual offences against children and young females over a period of approximately 18 years during which you abused them in your capacity as an athletics coach. You have been convicted of three charges of using lewd, indecent and libidinous behaviour towards young girls, three charges of indecent assault, and, of particular gravity in the context of this indictment, a single charge of rape to injury of the first complainer, when she was a child aged 14 and 15, on various occasions and at various locations.  

These crimes involved on any view a flagrant breach of trust by you towards these young people and indeed their families. The crimes committed by you against the first complainer and the second complainer, that complainer being a child aged between 13 and 15 when you offended against her, disclosed a particular depravity on your part. Having listened to the evidence at your trial, in the light of the jury’s verdicts it appears to me that you are very much a Jekyll and Hyde character. You have assisted and supported hundreds of young people as their coach and teacher over many decades. Your crimes against your victims in this case, however, and I am referring here in particular to the complainers whom I have already mentioned, were nothing short of monstrous.

A criminal justice social work report has been made available for this sentencing hearing. You appear before the Court as a first offender. You are aged 73. You have an extended and supportive family and a marriage of considerable longevity. You have to date lived a pro‑social life of full and useful employment. You have been assessed as presenting a low risk of sexual reconviction. You have, however, displayed limited remorse for your offending and have in the opinion of the author of the report evidenced a complete lack of victim empathy.

I have listened with care to the submissions advanced in mitigation by your counsel this morning on your behalf. I propose to take all of the points made in the course of these submissions into account in considering sentence in your case. In particular I note your present age, supportive family, your status as a first offender and the good you have done in your career as a teacher and highly regarded athletics coach.

Having regard, however, to the gravity of the course of criminal conduct before the Court, involving as it did the sustained sexual abuse by you as a coach of children and young females, and in particular of course the gravity of your crimes against the first and second complainers, to which I have already referred, you will well appreciate that the only suitable disposal will require to be a substantial custodial one.  

I now accordingly sentence you on this indictment as follows. You will serve on charges 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8, all on an in cumulo basis, a sentence of eight years imprisonment. This sentence will be backdated to 5 August 2021, being the date of your conviction and of your remand into custody in this case.

Finally, as a result of this sentence, you will henceforth be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.”

16 September 2021