VICTIMS of a Port Glasgow paedophile declared ‘the beast is gone’ after he was jailed for nine years over a catalogue of abuse — but he may appeal.

Brother and sister Charles Buntine and Julie McKinlay were aged just three and 10 respectively when stepdad Thomas Gray began his campaign of sexual assaults and rape.

Julie, now 38, and Charles, 34, welcomed the sentence handed down by Judge Kenneth Maciver QC but slammed Gray, 55, over a ‘total lack of remorse’ for his appalling crimes.

Julie said: “It feels like a huge weight has been lifted from me because I know now that Thomas Gray can’t hurt anyone else.

“But while the sentence is a good one, and we are pleased about it, it will never take away the pain of what he did to Charles and me.”

Defence counsel Mark Moir told the High Court in Edinburgh that Gray insists that he’s innocent and intended to seek advice on whether an appeal was open to him.

Julie said afterwards: “It was stated in court that he accepted the jury’s unanimous verdict but that he was still in denial about what he did.

“Because he’s not accepted responsibility it’s a bit gutting.”
Julie — who was in court for the sentencing — added:

“Charles and me both said that the beast is now finally gone thanks to this sentence.”

The Telegraph told earlier this month how Gray preyed on the siblings — who have bravely waived anonymity in order to speak out — and another woman between 1986 and 1997 at addresses in Port Glasgow.

Judge Maciver QC told him: “You stand convicted of extremely serious crimes of sexually abusive conduct, physical assault, sexual assault, rape of a child and a serious sexual assault of an adult woman.”

He said that a previous conviction in 2015 for possession of indecent images of youngsters underlined the fact that Gray has a ‘sexual attraction to children’.

Victim Charles — whose life has been blighted by substance abuse — said: “I turned to drink and drugs and just tried to block it all out but this case has been a turning point for me.

“I was determined to see justice done.

“He is nothing but a filthy beast, and now everyone can see him for what he is.”

Judge Maciver QC said that Gray had abused Julie — whom he raped — ‘terribly and repeatedly’.

Charles was subjected to physical and sexual abuse between the ages of three and five when he was molested, as well as being locked in rooms, punched, slapped, kicked and hit with a thrown roller skate.

Gray raped Julie, repeatedly punched and kicked her and dragged her down stairs by the hair.

As well as his nine-year prison term, he has also been placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.