Woman abused aged 11 by paedo bus driver bravely speaks out as he’s sent to jail
One of the victims of a paedophile bus driver who abused three children over a 15-year-period has spoken of her relief at his conviction for rape.
Naomi Gibson told police after she was assaulted by predator Craig Wallace in a van during a family trip to a football match when she was just 11 years old.
However, there was insufficient evidence to convict him, and he subsequently raped two other children.
Twenty years on, mother of two Ms Gibson, 31, is still haunted by the fact that her abuser was not prevented from targeting other young girls – and has waived her right to anonymity to help other victims come forward.
Jurors convicted Wallace, now 41, of abusing three children over a period of 15 years at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.
He had denied the three charges during trial but was convicted of lewd and libidinous conduct towards Naomi in her dad’s van in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
He was was further found guilty of raping a second girl at a house in the town.
He was finally convicted of the sexual assault, attempted rape and rape of a final child in Douglas, Lanarkshire.
Prosecutors stated the charges – all with unanimous verdicts – spanned between 2003 and 2018.
Now 31, Ms Gibson told the Daily Record: “I was the first. I was the test subject for him and the fact this continued so long and he was free for a 20 year period is heartbreaking.
“I just feel so sorry for the other girls. If only I was listened to I might have been able to save them from this.
“But I hope other victims of abuse will be encouraged to know that you are strong enough and you can get justice, even after so long.”
Wallace was a close friend of Naomi’s dad and known to her before the attack as ‘uncle Craig’.
He would accompany the family on trips to watch youth football matches at Hamilton Palace grounds and, in 2003, he took his chance when alone in Naomi’s dad’s van to subject her to 45 minutes of terror.
After asking her inappropriate questions, Wallace asked to see a scar on her chest before sexually assaulting her.
Brazen Wallace continued to stroke her thigh on the way home with Naomi’s dad sitting just inches away in the van.
Naomi, of Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, said: “People of his nature tend to have a fear factor about what they’re doing. He doesn’t have that.
“If you walked past him in the street you would probably smile at him because he has a very trusting face but if you take that extra five minutes to actually look into his eyes you can see he’s sheer evil.
“He told me it was just our secret but as soon as I went home I told my mum everything that happened.
“My mum and Dad spoke and asked me what I wanted to do and we went to the police. I spoke to them a few days later.
“The police were amazing. I still remember the police officer who went above and beyond for me and was absolutely amazing, but there wasn’t enough evidence. They needed more.
“He was a bus driver, which is so scary because you get the kids on the buses coming home from school and young women coming back from nights out.”
Naomi says her family was targeted and intimidated by supporters of Wallace in the year that followed and their property vandalised.
They were even moved to a safe house by police.
Wallace, of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, had been on bail for the duration of his trial.
Adjourning sentencing until next month, judge Lord Armstrong told him: “You will be detained in custody meantime.”
Wallace was put on the sex offenders list.
Naomi said: “It was a long time coming. I don’t even think it has sunk in properly yet that he is finally behind bars.
“It is very freeing to know it’s over after all this time. I feel lucky really that what happened to me didn’t develop any further but heartbroken that he has gone on to progress his offending with the other girls.
“If he gets out I believe he is going to do this again and again.”
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