A PAEDOPHILE who went missing when abuse allegations surfaced was warned he faced a lengthy jail sentence yesterday (Wednesday) after raping and molesting nine children.

Former bus driver Shaun Borrett, 42, targeted children as young as five in sex crimes that spanned 24 years.

During the abuse, some child victims were punched and kicked in the genitals, shown pornography and made to take part in sex acts with other youngsters.

Borrett, formerly of Steading View, Tranent, had denied a string of offences committed in the town during a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh but was found guilty of 12 charges of indecent behaviour, sexual assault and rape.

A judge told him: “You have been found guilty of a number of very serious charges and in due course there will be a substantial sentence of imprisonment.”

Lord Beckett told jurors: “It can be very upsetting to listen to evidence of the kind you have heard from a lot of people of different ages in this trial.”

Borrett told the court that in April he started drinking and took pills in a bid to commit suicide following an argument about allegations one man had made about him abusing him when he was a child.

He said that the tablets were not working and he set off in his car as he did not want to be found.

He drove over the Lammermuir Hills to England but a man went to his aid at a layby and took him to a medical practice before he was transferred to hospital and returned to Scotland.

Borrett claimed that his life was over because of the allegations made against him and said: “I am not lying. They are.”

He maintained: “I wouldn’t touch any child. I have never, ever threatened any child in my life.”

Bid to escape Advocate depute Margaret Barron pointed out to Borrett that someone might run away in a bid to escape the consequences of their actions. Borrett replied: “I know why I did it.”

But one of his victims told the eight-day trial that his mother informed him that Borrett had “run away”. The teenager said: “I knew exactly why he was missing.”

The 18-year-old said: “That’s when I realised I needed to come forward.”

He spoke to police within days of Borrett’s return to Scotland.

He said he had remained quiet about the abuse he suffered and only spoke to a girlfriend last year.

He told the court: “I didn’t want anybody to know. I didn’t want to be embarrassed. I didn’t want to be bullied.”

He said he had wanted to avoid being picked on and added: “I didn’t want to be slagged for being molested.”

The teenager was raped and abused by Borrett when he was aged 10 and saw him carry out sex acts with another boy who was still in primary school at the time.

Borrett was a teenager when he targeted his first victim, who was aged between five and seven, and made the boy perform sex acts on him, as well as touching the child between 1994 and 1997.

The following year he molested a 14-year-old at a pub in Tranent and later went on to abuse and rape a second girl in the town between 2001 and 2006 when she was aged between seven and 11.

He also abused a boy from the age of eight, beginning in 2007.

He raped another boy and punched him in the groin when he was aged between eight and nine at a house in Tranent between 2015 and last year.

Another boy was molested, punched and kicked in the genitals and induced to take part in sex acts with other children when he was aged between nine and 11.

An eighth victim, who was aged 10, was threatened that he would be tied naked to a lamppost and another boy was sexually assaulted when he was aged between seven and eight and was touched and kicked in the genitals.

Borrett, an HGV driver, was placed on the sex offenders’ register. He was remanded in custody while a background report is prepared on him ahead of sentencing in the new year.

Following the conviction, Detective Sergeant Ally Sellar from the Lothians and Scottish Borders Public Protection Unit, said: "Shaun Borrett subjected a number of young people to horrific levels of sexual abuse during the nineties and noughties and, had it not been for their courage in coming forward, his crimes may have gone unpunished.

"As it is, however, their testimony and evidence, coupled with a sensitive and professional investigation by the Public Protection Unit, has ensured that Borrett will now face a custodial sentence.

"We are committed to bringing all perpetrators of sexual crime to justice and time is no barrier to our investigations. If you wish to report an offence of this nature, please contact us via 101, make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers our utilise our third-party reporting mechanism on the Police Scotland website."