A MAN accused of sexually abusing three girls as young as seven in locations across the west of Scotland over a 17-year period has been cleared.

Charles McMahon faced trial for 13 separate accusations of lewd or indecent acts, assault or threatening behaviour at locations in Prestwick, Clydebank and Linwood between 2002 and 2019.

But following a trial at Ayr Sheriff Court, Mr McMahon was acquitted after a jury returned a 'not proven' verdict on all the charges.

The 49-year-old had been accused of walking around exposed or aroused in front of each of the girls, and of entering bathrooms uninvited while each of them was washing or using the toilet.

The prosecution claimed that the youngest of the girls was aged between 7 and 12 when the first of the alleged incidents took place, while the oldest was aged 18.  

Charges levelled by the Crown included accusations that Mr McMahon sexually assaulted two of the girls, and physically assaulted one by allegedly punching her repeatedly on the head.  

Mr McMahon, of Kintyre Avenue in Linwood, had always denied his guilt.

He had originally been due to stand trial in July, but the case was adjourned for a further pre-trial hearing in September.  

When that hearing took place, defence counsel John Brannigan made a number of requests, including that a number of text messages be allowed into evidence for a jury to see during the trial.  

Mr Brannigan told the court in Ayr that it was his client's position the accusations were “fabricated”.  

Sheriff Desmond Leslie granted some of Mr Brannigan’s requests but refused others, and set a new trial diet for November. 

When he returned to court for trial this month, the jury returned not proven verdicts on all the charges.