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Court / Sex offender remanded ahead of sentencing

A THIRTY nine year old man who admitted committing sexual assaults against two teenagers, one aged under 16 at the time, has been remanded in custody ahead of sentencing.

John Masterman, of Leaside, Mossbank, admitted intentionally or recklessly touching the two girls.

One of the offences, committed against a female teenager who he worked with at a Lerwick restaurant, took place between 1 and 31 August 2018.

The second saw Masterman sexually assault a girl aged under 16 in her family home on various occasions between 1 January and 22 June 2021.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said he was “really disturbed by what I’ve heard” to the extent that he felt compelled to revoke Masterman’s bail and remand him in custody while a criminal justice social work report is prepared.

He will reappear for sentencing on 30 March.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Thursday that the youngest victim was particularly vulnerable.

Masterman worked for a company owned by her mother and stepfather and “effectively ingratiated himself with the family” to the extent that he dined with them regularly and effectively formed part of their Covid bubble, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said.

His interest in the girl “did not take long to show” and things “came to a head” on 22 June when Masterman assaulted the girl while the two were alone in the house, the fiscal said.

The girl struggled to break free and went to her bedroom. When her mother arrived home she already had a “germ of suspicion, or at least a sense of discomfort” and the girl disclosed “a little” of what had happened.

When the girl’s mother and stepfather confronted Masterman he protested it was “only a couple of times… only meant to be fun, nothing more”.

Initially when questioned by police he said any physical contact was designed to console her, claiming he thought of her as a daughter.

Mackenzie said that in the aftermath the sexual assaults continued to have an effect on the girl, who has excellent support from her mother and stepfather and is also receiving counselling.

“She was just a child, and a particularly vulnerable child, at that time,” he said, adding the victim told him this week that once the court case is over she just “hopes to get back to normal”.

In the 2018 incident, the victim had just turned 16 and was working in a restaurant storeroom when Masterman grabbed her around the waist with his arms and held her tightly against his body.

The fiscal said it was “completely unwanted attention” and she had to struggle to get free.


Space2face Shetland

Space2face Shetland is an independent and confidential service which uses Restorative Justice and the arts to bring those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication. We enable everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

If you would like to reach out to us, please contact us via e-mail info@space2face.org or mobile 07564 832467.

If you would like to know more, visit our website www.space2face.org, or our Facebook page #space2faceshetland.

The project is also currently fundraising to secure office space in Shetland’s brand-new creativity and wellness centre, The Mission. If you’re interesting in getting involved, or making a donation, head over to www.space2face.org/how-you-can-help