A driving instructor who sexually abused 14 of his female students while they were behind the wheel of his car is facing years in jail.
Neil Addison was remanded in custody after a jury found him unanimously guilty of all the charges he faced of carrying out sex attacks on young women in the Fife area over the course of more than three years.
A four-day trial at Dundee Sheriff Court heard from a string of young women who told strikingly similar stories of starting lessons with “friendly” Addison – only for him to begin groping them a few weeks into their tuition.
He would begin by touching many of the girls just above the knee – what he described to police as a “reassuring pat” – and over the course of future lessons he began “squeezing” higher and higher.
Several girls told how he ended up with his hand wedged between their legs. Addison later “escalated” to groping several of the girls’ breasts.
His final victim – 17 at the time – told how she fled his car in tears after he first groped between her thighs before lunging over and grabbing her breast while she drove around roads in Fife.
She and her sister – also a victim of Addison – went to the police that night, setting the ball rolling on an investigation that uncovered many more victims.
The following day Addison was interviewed by police where he said he was: “Stupid, stupid – 18-year-old head on an older body.”
But he denied all the charges against him and forced 14 young women to give “distressing” evidence over the course of a four day trial.
A jury took just one hour and 45 minutes to find him unanimously guilty of all the charges.
Sheriff Tom Hughes remanded Addison in custody pending sentencing next month and said: “These young women were confined in a car with you at a time when they looked to you for assistance.
“For several weeks you ingratiated yourself to them, then as time went on you took more and more liberties with them.
“Heaven knows what would have happened had this gone untraced.”
The sheriff also praised Addison’s victims, adding: “Each and every one of them can take pride from the fact they came to court and gave evidence in a dignified fashion and must take some consolation that the jury have found each and every one of them truthful.”
Addison’s final victim, now 18, told the jury that Addison had touched her “just above the knee” during early lessons – moving on to her upper thigh as time went on.
During that final two-hour session he had gone as far as putting his hand between her upper thighs, touching against her private parts.
She said: “I was driving with one hand and trying to push him away. At one point the side of his hand had been in my crotch. He was then pinging my waistband.
“When I got out of the car he said ‘don’t tell anyone about this’.”
Addison was detained by police the following day and interviewed.
In her closing speech to the jury, fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson said: “He feels it is appropriate to shove his hand down the top of a 17-year-old girl in the middle of a driving lesson because he is attracted to her.”
But defence lawyer David McLaughlin argued: “Their actions are not consistent with being sexually assaulted week in, week out.”
Addison, 55, of Holly Park, Cupar, Fife, denied a total of 15 charges on indictment, allegedly committed between June 2014 and August 2017 during car journeys across north east Fife.
One of the charges was withdrawn at the end of the Crown case after the court heard the alleged victim emigrated to Australia.
The jury of eight men and seven women took just one hour and 45 minutes to find Addison guilty of all 14 remaining charges.
Sheriff Tom Hughes added: “All the young women we heard from were aged from 17 to 21 when you carried out this course of conduct.
“They were vulnerable at that particular time. They were confined in a car with you at a time when they looked to you to assist them in learning to drive.
“You were in a position of trust and they were paying you good money to help them.
“You were misplacing that trust and abusing the situation you found yourself in. I take the view you seemed to groom these young women.
“For several weeks you ingratiated yourself to them and as time went on you took more and more liberties with them, leading to the situation we heard from the very last witness.
“It is very gratifying to know they were able to alert police to this matter and ensure it didn’t escalate.
“Heaven knows what could have happened had this gone untraced.”
He deferred sentence until September 10 for social work background reports, remanded Addison in custody and placed him on the sex offenders register indefinitely.