A FORMER athletics coach has been convicted of rape and serious sexual offences after targeting teenage girls across Fife.
Eric Simpson, 73, committed the offences between 1981 and 1999. He was convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh today following a five day trial.
Police were made aware of one victim who had seen a recent photograph of Simpson still in his coaching role posing with a young girl.
The woman wanted to protect others and bravely agreed to speak to detectives in December 2018. Her account triggered the start of a police investigation.
Officers worked through statements and contacted various people who had been coached by Simpson in a career that spanned from the 1970’s until his suspension in 2018. His abuse started with massages that became sexually inappropriate. The youngest victim was only 13-years-old.
Five women agreed to give statements to police and Simpson was arrested and charged in May 2019.
Detective Sergeant Graeme Dursley, of the Non-Recent Child Abuse Investigation Unit based at Glenrothes, said: “Simpson was well known in the local community. He was held in very high regard in athletic circles and many of those we spoke to couldn’t believe the concerns were true. This shows his level of manipulation and the depraved character that he was.
“The women who agreed to testify against him are incredibly brave. When we approached them for the first time, they were all so glad that this was being investigated and that we believed them.
“It was a powerful moment and if it wasn’t for all the women agreeing to speak to us, we would not have had this conviction.
“I want to thank all of those women and also Scottish Athletics who helped us throughout our investigation. I want this to give others confidence to contact police if they have been a victim of abuse of any kind, no matter how long ago or who it involved.”
Simpson has been remanded in custody and should be sentenced at Paisley High Court on 16 September 2021.
Anyone who has experienced abuse should contact Police Scotland on 101.