A Kirkcaldy man has been convicted by jurors of hitting children and tying their hands behind their backs with cable ties.
Kevin Sinclair denied charges relating to assaults on different children between 2009 and 2018 and a further allegation of wilfully ill-treating the youngsters.
After a four-day trial, the majority of jurors found Sinclair guilty of five charges.
The 44-year-old was found to have struck one child on the body with a belt, as well as repeatedly striking the youngster on the head and body for almost a decade, starting in 2009.
Sinclair also assaulted three other children in the same way.
Jurors returned verdicts of not proven on similar allegations towards another two children.
Cable ties allegations
He belted and struck one child on various occasions from a date in 2009, repeatedly striking the head and body.
Jurors also convicted Sinclair of identical assaults on two others.
Allegations the children were injured as a result of the attacks were all dropped.
The jury found Sinclair bound children with cable ties “or similar bindings.”
The majority of jurors agreed Sinclair wilfully ill-treated the children in “a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health” over an eight-year period.
Throughout, Sinclair compelled the children to kneel on the floor with their hands behind their backs, which he bound.
Sinclair was cleared of allegations he forced the children to eat off the floor while their hands were tied behind their backs.
The children cannot be named for legal reasons.
Police called after interview
Fiscal depute Claire Bremner told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court Sinclair was interviewed by Barnardo’s to discuss his own childhood.
She said: “During the course of that meeting, the accused told Barnardo’s he gave [the] bairns a wee dunt here and there.”
Ms Bremner said at this point, police were contacted.
The court heard Sinclair’s only previous offences were an assault in 2002, which was dealt with by means of an admonition and driving without insurance four years later.
Sheriff Alastair Brown deferred sentencing until March for reports and said Sinclair’s words to Barnardo’s set “alarm bells ringing.”
He labelled some of the evidence as being “very disturbing.”
The sheriff slammed, “the absence of some indication in his (Sinclair’s) attitude that he recognises that this was abusive.”
Sheriff Brown released Sinclair on bail with special conditions, telling jurors a prison sentence was not inevitable.