Serial rapist jailed for ten years

The High Court in Edinburgh.
The High Court in Edinburgh.

A predatory rapist who was branded “a complete monster” by a victim was jailed for 10 years today after targeting vulnerable women.

Neil Ireland carried out a string of sex attacks on victims and even raped one woman while she was in bed with her baby daughter.

Ireland (39) was led off to jail from the dock at the High Court in Edinburgh to calls of “scumbag”.

Judge Lord Uist told him: “It was, in my opinion, correctly stated by the Crown at your trial that you were a predator who befriended and exploited vulnerable women by taking advantage of them sexually, not caring whether they consented to what you did to them.

“Moreover, it was clear to me you considered you were entitled to act as you did and you have shown no remorse or regret.”

The judge said a background report prepared on Ireland revealed that he used denial, minimisation and blame and portrayed himself as the victim.

Lord Uist continued: “You were convicted by the jury of a total of six charges involving sexual violence against four separate women. Three of those charges involved repeated rapes of two of the women.

“Today you have to pay the price for your criminal conduct.”

Ireland was told if he had a criminal record for any kind of violence he would have faced a longer prison term.

The handyman, formerly of Taylor Street, Methil had earlier denied committing the sex crimes of rape and indecent assault, but was found guilty of offences committed between 2008 and 2015. The crimes took place at houses in Cupar, Methil and Leven.

One woman told his earlier trial that she had fallen asleep with her daughter lying over her arm but woke to find him coming into her bed.

She said: “I tried to get up but he held me down. He tried to pull down my pyjama bottoms and I told him to stop. He told me I better be quiet so I didn’t wake up my daughter.”

The woman said Ireland went on to rape her despite her telling him to stop. She said the ordeal continued even after child wakened.

The victim revealed that she had also been raped by Ireland, who threatened, when she was pregnant.

One woman told the court that she had regarded Ireland as a friend but repeatedly told him she did not want to have a physical relationship.

She said that after drinking she fell asleep on a sofa but woke to find Ireland raping her during an attack.

She said: “I thought he was my friend. He turned out to be a complete monster.”

Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson said Ireland was a first offender who had demonstrated in the past that he had “an excellent work ethic”.

He said Ireland intended to co-operate with the authorities while serving his prison sentence and would take part in offender programmes.

Ireland will be on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely following his sentencing.