Fife man guilty of raping and physically assaulting two women

Stuart was found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh. Pic Ian Rutherford.
Stuart was found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh. Pic Ian Rutherford.

A ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ style crook is facing a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted by a jury of raping and physically assaulting two women over a five and a half year period.

Despicable Michael Stuart (27), preyed on the two females, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at addresses in Inverness and Kirkcaldy.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Stuart started physically abusing his first victim in November 2006.

He then repeatedly raped her on various occasions between March and December 2007.

In October 2008, Stuart started to assault another woman. He continued to attack her until May 2012.

Stuart, who has previous convictions for assault and abduction, then waited almost two years before raping her sometime between November 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.

The story emerged on Tuesday following a week long trial before judge Lady Scott.

Stuart, of Burntisland, had denied any wrong doing and pleaded not guilty to a total of seven charges. Prosecutors withdrew two of the charges during proceedings.

On Tuesday, after three hours of deliberations, jurors returned guilty verdicts to the five remaining charges of rape and assault.

Following the verdict, judge Lady Scott remanded Stuart, of High Street, Burntisland, in custody ahead of a sentencing hearing next month.

She told him: “I am going to defer sentence for the court to obtain a social work enquiry report. It will be in your interests to co-operate with the authors of this report.”

During proceedings, prosecution lawyer Mark McGuire told jurors how Stuart started abusing his first victim when she was a 17-year-old expectant mum in November 2006.

The assaults, which took place at addresses throughout Inverness, continued until January 2008.

Mr McGuire told the court how Stuart would seize her by the throat, hold her against a wall and would repeatedly punch and kick her on the body during the attacks.

On one occasion, the court heard how Stuart used a knife to cut the woman’s clothing. He also called her derogatory names.

In his closing speech to the jury, the advocate depute described one of the times when Stuart raped his victim.

Mr McGuire said the woman said that she told Stuart that she didn’t want to have sex and she could tell he was unhappy.

Mr McGuire added: “He ignored her protestations of telling him she didn’t want to do it.”

During the attack the court heard how she begged him to stop but instead he covered her mouth with his hand and also punched her on the stomach.

The advocate depute said that following the first sexual attack, he later went on and ‘raped her again, again and again.’

The woman told the court that she plucked up enough courage to give evidence after police investigating Stuart’s behaviour contacted her.

The court also heard from Stuart’s second victim who was also a teenager when she first met him.

The female, who is now a 27-year-old mum of two, told the court how she was 18 when she met the accused.

She said Stuart could be charming and then angry within a few short moments.

Making reference to the book written by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, the woman added: “He was like Jekyll and Hyde.”

During her evidence, she described one incident in which Stuart held her down on a bed.

She said: “He pushed me down onto the bed and pinned me down. He pinned my arms down at my wrists.”

The woman also described the occasion when Stuart raped her whilst she slept.

Describing the moment she awoke, the woman said: “I can just remember his face. His eyes were glazed over and he was gritting his teeth.”

“Were you awake when he had sex with you on that occasion?”

She replied: “No.”

Mr McGuire then asked: “Would he have any reason to think he would be okay with that?”

She replied: “No.”

Following conviction, Mr McGuire told Lady Scott that Stuart had convictions for violence, hamesucken, abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Lady Scott decided to adjourn sentence for the court to obtain reports.

Stuart will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on December 12, 2017 when it is expected that the accused’s advocate Lorenzo Alonzi will address the court.