A CHILD rapist who abused youngsters over more than three decades was jailed for 10 years yesterday (Wednesday) after he was reported to police for having child pornography on his phone.

Raymond Oldham was the subject of police inquiries years previously, after victims came forward, but on one occasion a procurator fiscal decided not to proceed with the case and on another he was acquitted in court.

Oldham, formerly of Tranent but now of Dundee, remained free to perpetrate further abuse but when he showed acquaintances pictures on his phone, including indecent images of children, one of them contacted police, sparking an extensive investigation dubbed Operation Croaker.

Oldham admitted committing six offences of indecent behaviour and rape between 1983 and 2016 against five boys and a girl in Musselburgh and Tranent, as well as Dalkeith in Midlothian, and in Cupar, Methil and Leven in Fife.

A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have been convicted on your own plea of a series of sexual offences against young children and in particular against young boys.”

Lord Boyd of Duncansby said: “All of the victims must have been traumatised by what has happened. You have an obvious and admitted sexual attraction to male children and teenagers.”

The judge said that the sex offender had no real empathy or understanding of the psychological impact his actions had on victims.

He ordered that Oldham be kept under supervision for a further six-year period and told him he would be on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

One boy who was grieving following the death of his father was targeted by Oldham, who befriended him and took him for drives to secluded areas such as a country park and woods.

Oldham, 51, began molesting the boy and told him: “Don’t say anything. You will regret it.”

The abuse of the 13-year-old escalated into sex.

On one occasion the boy was in the car with Oldham and other younger children when he drove them to an out-of-the way spot.

Advocate depute Liam Ewing said: “The boy was scared for the younger children and told them to go for a walk and not return until he called for them.”

Oldham told the boy before sexually assaulting him: “Well if I’m not doing it to them then you’re getting it worse.”

He targeted his first victim when she was aged eight or nine and he was 16 or 17 after playing hide and seek with her at a house in Musselburgh.

He touched her groin and was set to continue his abuse when he was disturbed by a noise.

Oldham’s next victim was a boy of 11 or 12 who awoke to find the paedophile performing a sex act on him at a house in Musselburgh before he left the child crying after he committed further abuse on him.

He also told another boy who called at his then family home in Tranent to borrow some sugar to take off his trousers. The boy, who was between eight and 10 at the time, pushed him away. Oldham was laughing as the boy ran home.

Another boy was staying at a farm cottage near Cupar, where Oldham was living at the time, when he was molested.

The frightened child did not feel safe and went to a woman who allowed him to stay with her while he awaited his mother’s return from England.

The boy who lost his father would also sleep over on occasion at the cottage but became a target for Oldham.

Mr Ewing said: “He was grieving for his father who had recently died and saw the accused as a positive male role model.

“On reflection, he believes the accused spent a period of time building his trust and grooming him.”

Unemployed Oldham’s final victim was aged nine. He was a friend of the child’s mother and visited her but increasingly gave his time and attention to the boy.

The boy later revealed that Oldham had walked in on him when he was naked and wrote in a note: “About five minutes later he asked me [if] I fancy him and I said no but then his eyes turned red and I got scared and just said yes.”

He detailed how Oldham began kissing him and went on to rape him.

Following Oldham’s sentencing, Detective Sergeant Graeme Dursley of Police Scotland’s public protection unit said: “Oldham targeted vulnerable young people and abused a position of trust he held with them.

“He is a prolific offender who committed the most disgraceful crimes.

“It is thanks to the courage of the victims that Oldham will now face the consequences of his actions.

“We welcome the sentencing today and hope that the victims can take some comfort knowing Oldham will spend a considerable amount of time in prison.

“Police Scotland is wholly committed to tackling all cases of child abuse, regardless of when the crimes occurred, and will continue to work alongside partners at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in order to bring offenders to justice.”