A WOMAN whose daughter was abused by a former Royal Navy submariner at a house in Helensburgh says his depraved behaviour has scarred her family for life.

Peter MacGregor preyed on his young victim over a nine-month period when she was aged 16 and 17.

The 44-year-old was jailed for 21 months at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual activity with his victim while he was in a position of trust.

The abuse was committed at a property in the town between December 2012 and September 2013.

MacGregor was handed an indefinite non-harassment order, banning him from having any form of contact with the victim of his crime, and was put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

READ MORE: Ex Navy man jailed after admitting sexual activity with teen at Helensburgh house

After sentence was passed, the victim’s mother – who the Advertiser is not naming, to protect her and her daughter’s identities – said she couldn’t see how she, and her family, could move on with their lives.

Describing how she felt when she found out, years later, what MacGregor had done, she said: “Initially I was shocked. I never for one second thought he was capable of anything even close to that.

“When I found out, I told him to come and see me straight away. He came round and admitted it.

“I contacted the police straight away. My daughter gave a statement, but she didn’t want to take it any further at that point.

“She was doing her final year at university at the time she told me, and she didn’t want it to interrupt her studies.

“I think it was in September last year that she phoned me and said ‘right, mum, I’m going to go and make a full statement to the police’.”

She continued: “I noticed my daughter’s attitude towards him had changed.

“I can’t remember exactly how old she was, because it wasn’t like a sudden change in the way she behaved towards him. But I thought it was just her being a teenager.

“She got into feminism in quite a big way, and said he was quite chauvinistic in his attitude. She used to call him a misogynist all the time.

“I thought she was exaggerating. But when I found out what he’d done, I was devastated.

“I felt like our world had come crashing down.

“I was disgusted. I felt physically sick. I still feel physically sick whenever I think about it. It’s the worst thing he could possibly have done.”

“I ended up agreeing to meet him at one point, and he did admit what he’d done. If it was just the two of us, he never denied it.”

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The abuse, the woman said, had left her daughter physically and emotionally scarred.

“She used to be a very confident girl,” she continued.

“She’s always been very intelligent, and she was also very confident within herself.

“She wasn’t a skinny child, but she ended up self-harming. I think that periodically she’s gone back to that. But we work on that with her.

“I don’t know that it only started happening when she was 16.

“She’s blanked out quite a few years of her life, and it’s made me wonder if it was going on for longer.

“She suffers from really bad anxiety. She’s lost a lot of weight, to the point where it’s quite scary looking at the difference in her between now and before it started.

“She went from a size 14 down to a size six. She looks like she’s nothing but skin and bone.

“It’s affected her mental health and her overall daily life in a really severe way.

“Counsellors and psychologists say they think she has borderline personality disorder, and that it’s a direct result of the trauma she’s experienced.

“She’s absolutely petrified of this man.

“He’s scarred her and this family for life.”

READ MORE: Opinion: Does justice system do enough to encourage people to report abuse?

MacGregor’s solicitor told Friday’s court hearing about a number of “protective factors” in relation to the court’s sentencing options, including his present relationship, his relatively good work record and his lack of previous convictions, apart from one speeding offence.

But the victim’s mum said that while MacGregor had admitted to her what he had done, she had almost never seen him express any remorse.

“I don’t believe he’s sorry,” she continued.

“It’s like he doesn’t really realise how bad it is.

“In court he spent most of the time smirking at me and my family. Then he tried to speak to my mum about something really stupid.

“But he knows better than to speak to me, and especially to my sister.

“I haven’t seen any remorse from him at all, apart from one time when I first found out about it – he threatened to go and drive off the Forth Road Bridge.

“That was as close as I’ve seen him to remorse.

“Clearly he knew what he’d done, and clearly he was scared of the consequences.

“He’s intelligent. He thinks he’s smarter than everybody else, and he’s a very convincing liar – I genuinely think he thought he was going to get away with it.

“He kept saying my daughter would never come forward, that it would do more harm to her reputation than to his.

“He did seem to believe that however he intimidated her, it would be enough to keep her silent.

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“I know he pleaded guilty, but I don’t think that was remorse – I think he was confronted with the fact that he had no choice.

“I think he didn’t want to go through the courts, then those who have stood by him would have found out the truth.

“I think he’s done everything in his power to stop it from getting out.

“The biggest thing for my daughter is that she was believed. I think over the years she had convinced herself that it was her fault because she didn’t stop it.

“One of the hardest things for me to get my head round is how he fooled me so much and for so long.”

MacGregor’s lawyer, Gordon Martin, told the court his client had worked in the Royal Navy, and said the stresses of his job may have led to his drinking and disinhibited behaviour.

But the victim’s mum said a high-pressure Navy role was no excuse for MacGregor’s conduct.

“He was in the Navy for 13 years,” she said. “The whole time he was in Helensburgh, he was a submariner.

“He left before all of this came out. But he can’t use being a submariner as an excuse.

“There’s a lot of good people in the submarine service who would never dream of doing something like that.”

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MacGregor, like all offenders who are sent to prison, will be eligible for release halfway through his sentence, though he will remain on licence until the end of the 21-month term.

“The jail sentence isn’t enough,” his victim’s mum added. “I’m not going to lie.

“But I just want people to know the truth about him. That could save somebody.

“I don’t know if he’s ever going to do anything like that again, but the lack of remorse I’ve seen from him certainly suggests to me that he’s capable of it.

“I don’t know how we’ll move on – apart from very close family, I don’t think I’ll be able to trust anyone with my children ever again.

“I just don’t want anyone else to suffer.”

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