A RETIRED Aberdour stationmaster jailed for battering and sexually assaulting vulnerable children in his care has been stripped of his MBE.

Trevor Francis was sentenced to nine months behind bars in May after being found guilty of abuse at the St Margaret’s children’s home in Elie in the mid-1970s.

Before his past was uncovered he was included in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to Aberdour, including 21 years at the railway station which regularly won ‘best in Scotland’ awards for its floral displays.

But that honour has now taken away from the disgraced 71-year-old after a notice was published in the London Gazette, the UK’s official public record of awards and other notices.

Published on November 28, it stated: “The Queen has directed that the appointment of Trevor George Francis to be a Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, dated 15 June 2012, shall be cancelled and annulled and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order.”

Before he was unveiled as a child abuser, Francis received the MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2012.

When he retired as Aberdour’s stationmaster in December 2014, a party was thrown in his honour and he told the Press: “There are not many places where a 70-year-old man can cross the street and have kids shout ‘Hello!’ “I don’t know them but they know who I am – which means I have to behave myself!”

But, around that time, one his victims came forward and his community spirited facade fell apart.

Originally from Salisbury, Francis trained as an RAF engineer before later retraining as a nurse.

He took over as manager at the notorious St Margaret’s home in 1973 after twisted paedophile David Murphy was forced out of a job there after allegations were made against him, but they were never followed up by police.

Murphy was finally jailed in 2002 for 15 years after admitting 14 charges of lewd and libidinous practices and behaviour and 16 charges of sodomy at St Margaret’s and at another home.

Francis’ name came up during the probe into Murphy in the late 1990s but it was only when one victim came forward in 2014 that police were able to build a case against him.

Former residents told of abuse at his hands and three girls – aged 14 to 16 at the time – said Francis would creep into the girls’ dormitory at night and sexually assault them.

Others told how he slapped them in the face and beat them with a slipper in violent rages.

During the trial, fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson said: “He is a manipulative, violent and predatory person who abused the trust of these vulnerable people who he was paid to protect.

“But instead he perpetrated physical and sexual abuse towards them and managed to stay undetected because of his Jekyll and Hyde personality.”

Francis told the court he was “relatively easy going” and claimed to have had a good relationship with the kids at the home.

In a bizarre exchange he said: “Come hell or high water they wanted me to watch Top of The Pops with them every week.

“It helped me relate to the kids and know about acts like Gary Glitter at the time.

“I suppose that’s the wrong name to use today though.”

He added: “Not in any situation would I have dreamed of doing what I’m accused of doing.

“It is totally inappropriate and totally wrong. But they say I did it.”

Francis had denied nine charges but he was found guilty by a jury in March of two offences of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards young girls and three assaults.

One further lewd and libidinous charge and three assaults were found not proven.