A MAN said to have abused actor Eric Cullen yesterday admitted sex crimes against three young boys. John Williams, 65, was convicted by the dead actor's accusation.

Broadcaster Bill McFarlan, who befriended and championed Cullen even as he was pilloried as a child sex offender, said after yesterday's appearance that all Cullen had ever wanted was to see the man who had first abused him - his uncle, Jack Williams - brought to book.

He maintained that Cullen, Wee Burney in the Rab C Nesbitt series, was a victim, not an abuser, and that the the role played by the authorities in seeking a high-profile scalp while ''ignoring'' the real paedophiles had been unedifying.

Well before Cullen was jailed for sex crimes, he had claimed that Williams, his uncle, abused him when he was a boy.

It was these accusations which eventually led to former steel worker Williams appearing at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday.

Shortly before he died of an intestinal blockage attributable to his diminutive size, Cullen gave more than 50 hours of taped interview to Strathclyde Police.

It was Cullen who named the three victims named in the indictment against Williams, Mr McFarlan said yesterday.

Williams admitted abusing one of the boys at various locations throughout Scotland over a two-year period, and attacks on two boys in his care.

Advocate-depute Mr Graham Bell, QC, said that the three victims, aged in their early teens, were abused by Williams.

Mr Bell said: ''It has been extremely distressing for the three victims and one of them had suffered nightmares and his first marriage broke up because of what he had endured. He is now receiving counselling which has been of some help to him.''

Mr Bell said that Williams, of Highfield Crescent, Motherwell, had abused the boys while he was living with his wife at Hamilcomb Road, Bellshill, from 1974.

He said: ''The matter came to light when police received information from another person and interviewed the three victims.''

Lord Johnston deferred sentence until April 2 and ordered Williams' name to be placed on the police sex offenders' register.

Before yesterday's court hearing Williams, now divorced, said: ''I was the man accused by Eric Cullen of abusing him as a boy, but it is not true.

''Because of what he told police, they interviewed the three people in this case and I was charged. I am pleading guilty because I have no alternative.''

In June, 1996, Cullen was jailed for nine months for possessing obscene videos showing him with two under-age boys and one taken at a boys' camp.

Three appeal judges quashed the sentence three months later as ''inappropriate''.

Later Cullen tried to commit suicide and told police he had been passed around by paedophiles, including Williams.

Mr McFarlan said: ''I am disgusted that Williams was not charged with abusing Eric. The videos found in Eric's house had been dumped there by other people and he found himself in jail while other people who had raped and abused him walked free.''