Sex offender given life for murder

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A serial sex offender was jailed for life yesterday for strangling a schoolboy while under the supervision of a local council.

Steven Leisk, 34, will serve a minimum of 25 years in jail after the judge at the High Court in Aberdeen told him he represented a danger to the public.

Leisk pleaded guilty to the abduction and murder last July of nine-year- old Scott Simpson, whose body was found four days later in the grounds of Aberdeen University. He had been strangled with a scarf.

Scott was playing football with friends in a park near his home in the city when he was approached by Leisk, who gave him a roll-up cigarette and a note that read: "Hi kid. If you want some of the latest megadrive games or any computer games, pounds 5 each, follow me."

The boy showed the note to two girls and told them he would be back in 20 minutes, Colin Boyd QC, prosecuting, told the court. Scott's parents reported him missing that evening, and Grampian police mounted a huge search. Mr Boyd said police failed to find Scott's body the following day despite searching the lane in which it was eventually found.

"Also of concern is the fact that the social work department who were supervising the accused's release on licence were aware that the accused was residing directly opposite the place where Scott was last seen alive," Mr Boyd said. "They took no steps to convey that information to police."

Leisk, who led police to the lane after he was arrested, had four previous convictions for sex offences. He also admitted assaults on two 14-year- old boys earlier this year.

Leisk, who was abused as a child and was an army medical orderly in the Falklands, according to his defence counsel, was arrested after a relative telephoned police. He told detectives that he strangled Scott by mistake while trying to muffle his screams: "I just panicked. I told him to stop the noise."