Jury delivers guilty verdict on serial rapist

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A vile rapist who refused to sit in court for his trial has been convicted of a near three decade- long catalogue of violence against a number of women.

Kenneth Watt (46) was absent from the dock when jurors at the High Court in Edinburgh convicted him today (Tuesday) of brutalising females over a 27-year period.

The brute, of Kirkcaldy, had earlier disrupted proceedings by shouting from the dock.

This forced judge Lord Brailsford to adjourn his trial for 24 hours.

He then sacked his lawyer and told his new legal representative that he wouldn’t be present in court to hear his victims tell the court of how he abused them.

Lord Brailsford then gave permission for the trial to go ahead.

Jurors heard how he repeatedly physically abused his first victim between February 1988 and October 1997.

The court heard how he repeatedly raped the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on various occasions between February 1988 and November 1994 at locations in his home town.

Watt, who has several previous convictions for dishonesty, then started preying on a girl aged four, subjecting her to violent physical and sexual assaults between February 1990 and February 1997.

Between June 2004 and June 2007, Watt also repeatedly assaulted another woman, who also cannot be named for legal reasons. He also raped her in late 2005.

Watt then repeatedly battered another woman between July 2013 and December 2015.

Police launched an investigation into Watt’s activities and managed to collect enough evidence to arrest him.

But Watt assaulted Detective Constable Lesley Anne Couper at Kirkcaldy Police Office in June 2016 before refusing to provide her colleagues with his fingerprints and a DNA sample.

On Tuesday, jurors convicted Watt of rape, sexual assault and physical assault charges.

He was also convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice by refusing to comply with police requests to provide them with his fingerprints and DNA.

Following conviction, Lord Brailsford told jurors that they had heard evidence in what was a “highly unusual” trial.

Deferring sentence for the court to obtain reports into Watt’s character, Lord Brailsford added: “I have never conducted a case in 11 years on the bench in which an accused person has been absent from proceedings.”

Watt targeted all his victims at various addresses in Kirkcaldy, Fife,.

one victim told jurors about how Watt raped her on one occasion in late 2005 in a derelict building in Kirkcaldy’s East March Street.

She said: “He told me he was going to stab me. I was scared. I was very scared.

“I said ‘please no, please no, not here. Not like this.”

But the court heard how Watt ignored her pleas.

Following the jury’s verdict, prosecution lawyer Keith Stewart QC revealed that Watt had previous convictions for dishonesty.

Lord Brailsford said Watt’s latest convictions showed there had been an “escalation” in his offending behaviour and deferred sentence for the court to obtain reports.

Watt will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on May 16 2017.

Detective Inspector James Leeson of Fife Division’s Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit said: “The suffering that Kenneth Watt inflicted on his victims over the largest part of his life is deplorable. His arrest came as a result of a thorough police investigation.

“However, I want to commend the courage of the women who were brave enough to come forward and give evidence against him which has been crucial in securing this conviction.

“I would like to thank each of these individuals for all of their assistance and support throughout our enquiries and the subsequent court trial. I hope that they can take some comfort following today’s verdict and begin to move forward with their lives.

“Police Scotland is wholly committed to tackling all cases of domestic abuse that are reported and other associated violent offences. We will continue to work alongside our partners at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in order to bring relevant offenders to justice.”

If you have concerns or information about domestic abuse these can be reported to Police Scotland on 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.