A REMORSELESS brute has been convicted of repeatedly abusing a toddler. 

Michael Neilson, 66, treated the boy so badly that the young victim tried to barricade a door with his toys to prevent a social worker from leaving them alone together.

Paisley Sheriff Court was told Neilson abused the child over a 16-month period, between November 2016 and February 2018.

Neilson went on trial earlier this year on 11 charges – five of assaulting the child, four of behaving in a threatening or abusive way towards him, one of wilfully ill-treating him and one of abusing social workers by shouting at them and recording them on his phone.

Last month, he was cleared of three charges – two of assaulting the boy and one of shouting, swearing and threatening him – but still stood accused of eight offences.

Social worker Shenaz Souter, 28, told the court how the child, who can’t be named for legal reasons, tried to prevent her leaving him alone with Neilson at the accused’s former house in Dalmahoy Crescent, Bridge of Weir.

Miss Souter said she was assigned to work with the boy through her job with Renfrewshire Council and saw him at Neilson’s home.

She added: “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.”

Neilson, who is originally from the Middle East and now lives in Paisley, did not give evidence in court but his video-recorded police interview was shown.

In it, he was heard telling officers he did shout at the boy but did not swear at him in English.

He explained: “I swear in Lebanon language when I swear. I swear in Arabic.

“I did not slap him in the face.”

Sheriff Craig Harris had adjourned the case to decide on a verdict and, when Neilson returned to the dock last week, he was convicted of six of the remaining eight charges.

He was convicted of wilfully ill-treating the boy by repeatedly shouting and swearing at him, assaulting him at the Morrison’s supermarket in Johnstone in November 2016 by punching him, behaving in an abusive way towards him in a taxi between Johnstone and Bridge of Weir in April 2017, shouting at him 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 called for background reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing and adjourned the case until next month.

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond