A victim of two killer paedophiles has broken his silence to tell how he put the pair behind bars – and is rebuilding his life through stand-up comedy.
Colin Higgins was repeatedly abused by evil Scots William Lauchlan and Charles O’Neill.
He kicked off the police probe that found them guilty of 31 offences against five young boys.
And he blew the whistle on them murdering Allison McGarrigle, 39, the Rothesay mum they feared would report their abuse of another young boy.
Lauchlan and O’Neill were found guilty of murdering Allison at a trial in 2010, and jailed for life.
Now, two decades after those events, Colin is filling comedy venues and making people laugh.
Colin, 36, said: “Those monsters promised to destroy me if I told what they had done, and I have no doubt they would have killed me like they killed Allison McGarrigle.
“But I’m here today to tell them they didn’t destroy me. I was the one who destroyed them.
“It might have taken me 20 years to overcome everything they did to me, but I’m the one who’s laughing while they remain behind bars.
“I was at that ‘awful teenager’ stage when you are terribly naive but think you know it all; just ripe for those monsters to come along with their easy offers of a can of beer that most definitely would not be tolerated at home by my strict mum.
“These men were obviously very adept at getting close to young victims, they used other teenagers as bait to lure me into their circle.
“Soon I was bunking off school to have beer with the lads at the out of the way cottage in Skelmorlie where O’Neill and Lauchlan kept an ‘open house’ to the boys they picked up.
“Thinking I was a grown up, of course I had a can of beer. Little did I know that they’d laced the cans with drugs.
“That’s when the abuse began.”
It was the start of a 20-year nightmare that left him with PTSD, night terrors and a lifetime on antidepressants.
Colin said: “O’Neill and Lauchlan were vicious, violent predators who used all their skills to entrap vulnerable young boys like me.
“They’d find them at the arcade at Largs sea front, and used the boys to befriend others they managed to trap in their evil web.
“Very quickly I went from being a silly teenager with an attitude to an abuse victim with no way out.
“O’Neill, in particular, would lash out unpredictably and always carried a screwdriver which he would take great delight in telling you he’d use to gouge out your throat if he felt like it.
“Lauchlan was wicked, really bad inside. He’d laugh at the terror he brought into my life.
“I felt trapped, like walking on an endless knife edge. And I was so scared, at first I did what I was told and kept my mouth shut.”
Colin desperately tried to escape from the evil duo.
But they stalked him, waiting outside his school playground first thing in the morning and last thing at night, kidnapping him off the streets to rape and abuse him whenever the notion took them.
Colin said: “They’d do what they wanted to me, and laugh about it. Then they’d ply me with more beer and warn me what they’d do to me and the people I loved if I didn’t do as they wanted.”
By this point they had already killed mum Allison, fearing she was about to report them to the police.
He said: “They openly joked about killing Allison McGarrigle to ‘shut her up’, and laughed as they told me she was sleeping with the fishes in the sea.
“I was traumatised and terrified, but I feared what would happen if anyone found out.
“I did everything I could to hide it from my family as the abuse continued for almost six months.
“I started playing truant from school so they couldn’t get their hands on me, and that got me in trouble with my mum and social workers.
“When Lauchlan and O’Neill realised I was getting unwanted attention, they turned up the threats, promising to gouge out my mum’s eyes.
“I’d learned to live with what they were doing to me all those months.
“But the thought of them hurting my wee mum was just too much.”
Colin was just 15 years old, but he knew he had to stop the two men.
“I had to protect her,” he said of his mother.
Colin remembers breaking down in front of his aunt and together they called the police.
During a 10-hour interview at Kilbirnie police station, the months of horror and abuse tumbled out; how his mum and family would be killed if he told, and the pair’s boasts about killing Allison McGarrigle.
Colin, now 36, said: “The detectives were obviously determined to take action when I told them about the abuse against me and others boys.
“I told them Lauchlan and O’Neill were so sure we were too terrified to speak out, they’d openly abuse us.
“But the officers almost fell off their chairs when I told them O’Neill and Lauchlan had boasted of killing Allison McGarrigle and disposing of her body in the sea.
“Up until that point, the whole place was covered in posters asking for anyone to come forward if they knew anything about Allison’s disappearance.
“The police had no idea where she was, and no clue that O’Neill and Lauchlan had anything to do with it.
“I’ll never forget those detectives faces as I told them O’Neill and Lauchlan murdered Allison and dumped her at sea where nobody would ever find her.
“As the detectives sat in front of me taking notes, the shock still on their faces, every awful thing I knew about the evil pair spilled out.
“That moment changed everything, and sealed the fate of the two most evil men imaginable.”