A former Edinburgh SNP activist who once tweeted how he wanted “beat the f**k” out of feminists has been jailed for sexually assaulting six young adults.

Cameron Downing, 24, preyed on his victims at locations across Scotland during a course of conduct which began when he was just 16-years-old.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how the abuse continued until February 2023. Police learned about his activities and launched a probe.

But the court heard that during the probe, officers discovered how Downing ‘repeatedly blackmailed’ one of the men he preyed on.

He told his victim that if he didn’t engage in sexual activity with him, he’d make an allegation to the police about how he had been raped by the man.

The witness told the court that Downing said he’d also contact his friends, family and employer and make the false rape allegation to them. The man, who is now aged 22, gave evidence and said he felt “trapped” by Downing’s threat.

Downing, a former drama student and an equalities convenor for the SNP’s London branch, spent his trial denying any wrongdoing.

Downing, who told the jury in their evidence that they identified as being non binary, said he hadn’t been threatening the male and was battling ‘complex’ mental health issues at the time of the abuse.

But on Friday afternoon, after two days of deliberations, jurors found Downing, of Willowbrae, guilty on charges of sexual and physical assault.

Defence advocate Michael Meehan KC said his client was a first offender and asked for Downing, whose pronouns are he and they, for bail ahead of a sentencing hearing next month.

But judge Alison Stirling remanded Downing in custody and told them: “Your status has changed. I will adjourn sentence to obtain a criminal justice social work report and you will be remanded in custody.”

n 2022, it emerged that Downing tweeted about how he wanted to “beat the f*** out of some terfs and transphobes”. He also tweeted “I f****** hate terfs and transphobes with such a passion.”

The tweets caused Harry Potter author JK Rowling to say: “Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland: A place where an equalities officer feels free to declare in public how much he wants to beat up non-compliant women.”

The comments made by Downing came to light after he had been elected as equalities officer for the SNP’s London branch in October 2022. He later resigned from the post.

A photograph also emerged of Downing posing with former first minister Nicola Sturgeon at a SNP conference in Aberdeen.

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