August 2019

Callous carer who abused toddler insists he should be praised

A remorseless Paisley carer who repeatedly abused a toddler insisted he should be given “praise” for his treatment of the child moments after being convicted.

Michael Neilson treated the youngster so badly the boy tried to barricade a door with his toys to stop a social worker leaving them alone together.

The 66-year-old brute, of Neilston Road, repeatedly abused the boy over a 16-month period, between November 2016 and February last year.

At Paisley Sheriff Court he was convicted of a string of offences, including punching the child in a supermarket, screaming at him at a doctor’s surgery and abusing council staff who tried to help, and told he would be sentenced next month.

And as Neilson left court, he approached a journalist covering the case and claimed: “They should give me some praise that I looked after him myself.”

Previously, the court heard the abuse the youngster had been subjected to.

Procurator Fiscal Depute Hazel Emmerson said the abuse was “verbal and physical; punching, hitting, slapping and pulling his hair.

“This type of behaviour happens regularly.

“Taxi drivers, a hospital nurse, nursery nurse, social workers all saw what the accused was doing to that very young boy.

“He slapped him, pulled his hair and told him to ‘f*** off’.

“This was aggressive and violent behaviour towards him which was going on for some time.”

Social worker Shenaz Souter said the youngster, who can’t be identified because he’s a child, tried to prevent her leaving him alone with Neilson, at a house in Bridge of Weir.

Miss Souter, 28, said she was assigned to work with the boy and Neilson through her job as a social worker with Renfrewshire Council.

She said: “He had actually piled up lots and lots of toys and built them up against the front door to stop me getting through the door.

“He had done that on previous occasions.”

Neilson, who is originally from the Middle East and had an Arabic interpreter in court, did not give evidence.

But his video-recorded police interview was shown in court.

He said: “I swear in Lebanon language when I swear.

“I swear in Arabic.

“I did not slap him in the face – if I slapped him in the face I’d kill him.

“He couldn’t be safer anywhere else.

“If someone said to me, ‘he has a problem with his heart, you can give him your heart and you will die’, I would do it.

“His behaviour in Israel is normal.

“There are cultural differences between Israel and Scotland.

“I’m a gentleman.”

Sheriff Harris had adjourned the case to decide on a verdict and, when Neilson returned to the dock, the judge convicted him of six charges.

He convicted him of wilfully ill-treating the boy, by repeatedly shouting and swearing at him, assaulting him at the Morrison’s supermarket in Johnstone by punching him in November 2016 and behaving in a threatening or abusive way towards him by berating him and swearing at him in a taxi.

He was also convicted of shouting at the child and throwing toys in August 2017, shouting at him in a medical practice the same month and abusing council staff at Johnstone Town Hall last February.

Sheriff Harris then said he was calling for background reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing, and adjourned the case until next month.