A BRUTE who repeatedly abused a toddler has been spared jail.

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, in Bridge of Weir and Johnstone.

He 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 and swearing at them and recording them on his phone.

In July, 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.

Sheriff Craig Harris had adjourned the case to decide on a verdict and, when Neilson returned to the dock last month, 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 this week.

When Neilson, formerly of Bridge of Weir and now of Neilston Road, Paisley, made his latest appearance in the dock, he was placed on a Community Payback Order that will see him supervised by social workers for the next two years.

He also has 12 months to complete 180 hours of unpaid work “or other activity” and was warned he could still be jailed if he fails to comply.

Sheriff Harris told him: “You have not shown a great deal of remorse.”

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