A MUM has told how a disgraced former Waverley captain put her teenage son through 'years of hell' while skippering the iconic paddle steamer.

David Neill, who died in prison recently, used his position on the world famous vessel to prey on young boys with the promise of a future career.

The 76-year-old skippered the world famous ship between 1975 and 1997, luring teenagers onboard by telling them they could progress to the Royal Navy before sexually assaulting them.

Despite continuing to deny his twisted crimes, the pensioner was jailed for seven years in February 2020 after being found guilty of four charges of indecent assault.

He was told be judge Tom Hughes he has 'groomed and used his victims for his own evil gratification'.

Neill was previously jailed for three years in 1998 for abusing five teenage boys in his cabin on Clyde trips or while berthing at Glasgow. He was released after serving the sentence before later being rearrested.

A fatal accident inquiry is taking place into his death at Barlinnie Prison

One of Neill's victims was a Largs man - and his mother has now spoken about her son's ordeal

She says the former Waverley captain's death in prison has finally brought some closure for her family and told how his heinous actions wrecked her son's life.

She said: "Neill was a terrible, terrible man.

"My son was such a happy go lucky boy, someone who wouldn't hurt a fly. The ordeal that he had to go through because of this man is unthinkable.

"Neill put my son through hell. They should have locked him up and thrown away the key when they jailed him the first time.

"Neill committed the most vile crime while he was in a position of trust - I am glad that he has got his comeuppance at last.

"My son could never get over what happened. It was always in his head. It gives me some sort of closure but I hope he suffered while he was in prison.

“Everyone in the town knew my son. He would stop in the street and say hello, he was always chatting to everyone - boats were his life.”

The Ayrshire woman told how her boy was just a schoolboy when he was targeted.

She added: "He was only 15 or so when it happened - and he never told a soul until he saw the reports in the paper about what Neill had done. He said to me that he felt compelled to give his account and went to Largs Police Station to give a statement."

The heartbroken mum added: "I am glad to see that Neill is finally gone. He caused my son and other boys so much anguish and distress. Something that is with them for the rest of their lives. What he did was appalling."

Another victim, who now lives in Canada, waived his right to anonymity at the time of the High Court trial.

Jim Scott explained how he still endured flashbacks to his ordeal, which led to him being diagnosed with PTSD.

He said: "I feel shame and embarrassment of being afraid to tell anyone. Not knowing if people would believe me.

"I lived with this dirty secret for over three decades. David Neill totally dismantled my life.

"He has caused decades of pain, decades of feeling unworthy, ashamed, embarrassed.

"No amount of therapy or medication can replace what is lost. I am broken, I doubt I will ever be whole."

The High Court judge praised the dignity of all Neill's victims and acknowledged they have been left with "horrendous lifelong consequences".

A spokesperson for the Scottish Prison Service said: "David Lindsay Neil, 76, a prisoner from HMP Barlinnie died last week.

"Police have been advised and the matter has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal."