A serial rapist described by one of his victims as “a complete monster” is finally behind bars.
Neil Ireland, a forklift driver and former cabbie in St Andrews, raped the same woman twice when her child was in the bed beside her and on one of these occasions she was eight months pregnant.
He claimed in court another victim had a fantasy of being raped and he only took part in this “reluctantly”.
But Ireland (39) was today (Friday)found guilty of a series of rapes and sexual offences against four women over a period of almost eight years.
The offences took place in Cupar, Methil and Leven between January 2008 and December 2015.
The judge described it as “a particularly unpleasant and distasteful case”. Ireland will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on 17th May.
During a two-week trial, the victims were forced to re-live their ordeals at the hand of Ireland, of Methil, but latterly living with his mother in Glenrothes.
It emerged Ireland preyed on vulnerable women when they were going difficult times.
One woman said she had a drink and drugs problem after coming out of a violent relationship. Ireland was someone she knew from her local pub and he began taking alcohol to her home and giving her money to buy drugs.
She said she had regarded Ireland as a friend but repeatedly told him she did not want to have a physical relationship with him.
The woman told the court that she had passed out on her sofa after a drinking session and woke up to find Ireland raping her.
She said: “I thought he was my friend, he turned out to be a complete monster.” She also described Ireland as “a disgusting person.”
However, in his evidence Ireland claimed this woman wanted to be raped.
His solicitor asked him: “Did you on any occasion rape her?”
“Only by her wanting it. That was a fantasy of hers,” answered Ireland.
He threatened another victim that if she did not have sex with him he would tell police she had breached her bail conditions and she would end up in jail.
Ireland was found guilty of six charges of sexual assault including eight separate rape incidents.
Lord Uist told Ireland, “You have been convicted by the jury of a series of very grave sexual offences. In light of these convictions you must expect a very lengthy period of imprisonment.”
Thanking the jury for their service, the judge said: “This has been a particularly unpleasant and distasteful case”.