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Easter Ross man learns fate after being found guilty of sexually assaulting two teenage girls

By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Sara Matheson.
Sheriff Sara Matheson.

A supermarket worker who sexually assaulted two teenage girls after befriending them on Snapchat has avoided a jail sentence.

Nathan Ross of Burgage Drive, Tain was found guilty by Sheriff Sara Matheson after trial at Inverness Sheriff Court in September and sentence was deferred for a background report.

It recommended that the 22-year-old be placed under supervision and do unpaid work as a punishment rather than go to prison and Sheriff Matheson agreed.

Defence solicitor advocate Shahid Latif added: "It is clear in the report that there are no issues regarding public protection."

Ross was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community work, and be supervised by the social work for two years. He was also placed on the Sex Offender's Register for the same period.

In addition, Sheriff Matheson told Ross that he must disclose to his supervising officer any contact or indirect contact he has with any child under the age of 16 not previously known to him.

Ross previously denied both sex assault charges, one of which related to a child aged between 13 and 16.

The court heard that in 2019 Ross had used Snapchat’s automated “quick add” feature to connect with people he did not know personally and had then started communicating with the teens.

Both victims gave evidence from behind privacy screens with one telling the court that she had met him for a day out in Inverness.

Shortly after that outing she had argued with her mother and had contacted Ross, then aged 19, again to ask for a lift to her father’s house.

She said during the journey she told Ross that her father had set aside £10 to pay for his fuel – at which point Ross made it clear to her he expected something other than money in return for the lift.

“He had informed me that I needed to pay in another way,” she said, adding: “I agreed to kiss him.”

After stopping the car in a supermarket car park Ross kissed and groped the girl, grabbing her hand and head and pushing them towards his genitals.

“I grabbed his hand and told him not to,” she said.

Asked by defence solicitor John MacColl why she didn’t simply get out of the car in the car park and alert someone to her plight, she said “I didn’t know where I was”.

The second victim, told the court that she too had taken a lift from Ross.

He made an unscheduled stop for food on their journey but in the fast food restaurant car park she said “his whole attitude changed”.

She said when he began to touch her leg and then her chest she told him that she didn’t like it.

“I said ‘I think it is time to go, I don’t want to do this’,” she said.

But her protestations were ignored by Ross, she explained.

“He just kept doing it, again and again, after I repeated myself three times he carried on doing it,” she said.

Eventually, Ross did drive her to her destination, but when they pulled up outside the address he grabbed her by the hand and forced her to touch his genitals.

“I said no and I thought that was clear enough,” she told the court. “I tried to take my hand away but he was stronger than me.”

The offences came to light after the younger victim posted her experiences on social media.

It was seen by both the second victim, who was previously unknown to her, and Ross himself, who contacted the police for “help” after friends sent screenshots of the accusation.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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