A MAN who groped two schoolgirls as they sat on his living room couch has escaped prison.

Ewan Toghill, 39, abused the 14 and 15-year-old on separate nights at his home, trying to make one of the attacks look like he touched the girl by mistake while reaching for a television remote control.

He was convicted of assaulting the teens, who can't be named for legal reasons, following a trial.

Toghill, of Gateside Street in Largs, was placed on the Sex Offenders Register and given a Community Payback Order for the offences - but still refused to accept his guilt.

The pervert has only completed 148 of the 300 hours' unpaid work, given for the office - but was praised by Sheriff Colin Pettigrew for his efforts.

He said: "You have made a good fist of the number of hours, I've no reason to believe you won't complete all of these."

The court had earlier heard how Toghill preyed on one of the youngsters as she say with a friend.

Prosecutor Frank Clarke said: "The older girl described how she and a friend were on the same settee.

"It was in the early hours of the morning.

"She described how her friend had been sleeping for around 20 minutes.

"This is when the incident occurred.

"She described how he placed his hand and fingers on her inner thigh, very close to her private area.

"She didn’t know what was going on.

"She looked at the accused and asked, 'what are you doing?'. He replied, 'Sorry, I was just trying to get the remote'."

Toghill assaulted the 15-year-old, after she had been drinking, at his home in between December 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016.

He pawed at the younger teen while she was sitting on the same sofa, placing his hand on her leg and rubbing her thigh.

Mr Clarke added: "The victims were visitors to his home. The assaults are said to have occurred on a brown corner settee."

A third alleged victim, claimed she was touched while she slept at another of Toghill’s addresses in Dalry in 2014, but that charge was found not proven.

Toghill could be seen visibly shaking when the guilty verdicts were returned and Sheriff Colin Pettigrew adjourned the case for background reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing.

He was supposed to go to his local police station to sign on as a registered sex offender within three days of being convicted but was arrested after failing to comply and was hauled back in to the dock where he admitted a breach of bail conditions.

Sheriff Pettigrew placed him on a Community Payback Order, telling him to carry out 300 hours' unpaid work over the next 12 months.

He has also told he will be supervised by North Ayrshire Council social workers for the next two years and will be on the Sex Offenders' Register for the same length of time.

Sheriff Pettigrew praised Toghill for the compliance with the order so far, after hearing he had done 148 of the 300 hours' unpaid work, saying: "You have made a good fist of the number of hours, I've no reason to believe you won't complete the order."