A SEX attacker guilty of rape and cruelty towards children has been jailed for nine years.

James Harris, of Thornliebank, was today sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.

The 52-year-old was earlier convicted of a total of seven charges spanning between 1999 and 2009.

He raped a teenage girl in Stirling, which included her being restrained.

Harris also assaulted her by grabbing her by the throat restricting her breathing.

He earlier attacked a young boy in Glasgow and Stirling.

This terrified victim had cigarettes put out on his body as well as being punched, kicked, headbutted and his head held under water.

A toddler meantime was whacked with a belt.

A final girl also suffered a similar assault to the young boy. Harris further exposed himself in front of her.

Harris was found guilty of rape, five charges of assault as well as behaving in a lewd and libidinous manner.

Judge Norman MacFadyen told Harris: "These charges represent a series of physical and abusive behaviours by you towards children.

"Physical assaults were an exercise of power over children by an adult demonstrating significant cruelty by you."

Regarding the sexual abuse, the judge said the rape and other conduct "disclosed a degree of depravity".

Harris will also be monitored for four years on his release.

His lawyer Paul Mullen earlier told the sentencing hearing: "He continues to deny his criminality.

"He is a man who has some difficulty coming to terms with the verdict, but he realises that he can only receive a lengthy custodial sentence."