A SERIAL sex offender who preyed on underage schoolgirls in a catalogue of rape and abuse was jailed for six years today.

Bradley Booth, 22, raped three girls and had underage sex with others as he targeted victims in East Lothian and Edinburgh.

Booth began his offending when he was aged 16 in October 2016 and persisted in committing sex crimes for nearly three years against a total of seven youngsters up until August 2019.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that one victim said she was left feeling "minging" after he subjected her to a rape attack at her home when she told him "no".

During an earlier trial, Booth, an airport duty free worker, had denied a series of charges and continued to deny them after he was found guilty.

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A judge told him: "By the verdict of the jury you were convicted of 11 charges, all consisting of sexual offences committed against girls who at the time were under the age of 16."

Lord Tyre said that the three most serious offences were for charges of rape of three different girls.

He added: "The experience continues to have a devastating effect on them some years after."

Booth's victims were aged between 13 and 15 and the judge pointed out that, at that age, children were vulnerable to exploitation.

Lord Tyre said that he took into account sentencing guidelines for young people and Booth's lack of previous criminal offending.

 He said the sentence would have been longer for an adult offender.

Molested child

Booth, formerly of Northfield Drive in Edinburgh, committed his first offence in 2016 when he indecently assaulted a 13-year-old girl.

The girl had been drinking and found herself alone in the city's Niddrie area and had sought help.

The court heard that Booth picked her up off the ground but then molested the child.

The following year, Booth committed his first rape when he assaulted a 14-year-old girl after taking off her lower clothing at an address in Niddrie.

He also began sending sexualised messages to another 14-year-old via Snapchat and asked her to send him nude pictures.

Booth had claimed that he did not know the girl, nor was he in touch with her.

He went on to have underage sex with another 14-year-old girl at two flats in Edinburgh and, in 2018, contacted a 15-year-old girl via social media before subjecting her to a rape ordeal at a house in Haddington.

Booth claimed that he thought she was the same age as him and she informed him that she had "a free house" before he arrived at the address.

He said there had been kissing, cuddling and some petting but denied anything else happened.

The girl said she was pushed and pinned down and subjected to a rape ordeal. She later spoke to her sister, who urged her to report it to police.

Raped girl

Booth went on to have underage sex with another 14-year-old girl at a house in Edinburgh in 2018 after meeting her through an internet platform.

Yet he claimed: "I have never seen her."

The following year, he contacted a 15-year-old girl and sent her sexual communications and got her to send him a picture of her bottom. He maintained that he thought she was 16 or 17.

He had sex with the underage girl and raped her after she said no to him.

He also sent indecent communications to another girl, from the age of 13, sent her pictures of his genitals and asked her to send sexual images of herself to him.

Defence solicitor advocate James Keegan QC said that Booth continued to maintain his position from the trial and was taking antidepressant medication.

Booth was told he would remain on the sex offenders' register for an indefinite period.