Leslie man jailed for raping schoolgirl he had groomed online

The High Court in Edinburgh
The High Court in Edinburgh

A former soldier who raped a schoolgirl he had groomed on Facebook and Snapchat has been jailed for five years.

John Fawcett (26), used the social media networks to groom the girl before assaulting her at a location in Leslie, on October 4, 2016.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Fawcett had made contact with the teenager when she was aged 16.

The court heard that Fawcett ‘flirted’ with the girl in the weeks leading up to the attack. He sent her pictures of his penis and arranged to meet her at a secluded spot.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, agreed to meet him. But the court heard that she didn’t consent to having sex with Fawcett.

On Friday, judge Lord Brailsford told Fawcett, who served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, that he had no other option but to send him to prison.

He added: “I take into account the fact that you have served your country. However, you have been convicted of a very serious offence.

“I must mark the seriousness of this offence by imposing a prison sentence. It will be one of five years.”

The story emerged after Fawcett, of Leslie, was convicted of rape following a three day trial at the high court last month.

Fawcett, who is known in his home village as Rob, had pleaded not guilty to the charge. But jurors took just two hours to return a majority guilty verdict.

During proceedings, the court heard how the girl, who is now aged 18, made contact through social media.

The young woman told prosecution lawyer Jim Keegan QC that the pair flirted with each other over the social media networks. They agreed to meet up with each other at the Back Braes in Leslie - a green space area.

She told the court that once she met up with Fawcett however, he started indulging in sexual activity which she didn’t consent to.

The young woman told the jury that Fawcett forced her to the ground. Fawcett then started to kiss her before restraining her and performing sex acts on her.

He then pulled her legs over her head and raped her.

The young woman later told a friend about what happened to her before telling her grandmother about the rape.

She later got in touch with the police who managed to gather enough evidence to bring Fawcett to justice.

In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Keegan said: “She told you about how they made contact on Facebook and Snapchat and were flirting with each other. Some of the messages were salacious.

“They agreed to meet up with each other. The accused started indulging in action which was unwelcome. She said no but he persisted nonetheless.”

Lord Brailsford had deferred sentence for the court to obtain reports on Fawcett’s character.

On Friday, defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson told the judge that the report stated that his client was assessed as being at a “low risk” of reoffending.

He added: “Mr Fawcett served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers before he was discharged with a medical injury - it was an ankle injury.

“He is also assessed as being at a low risk of reoffending.

“I would ask your lordship to consider these factors before proceeding to sentencing.”

Lord Brailsford also placed Fawcett on the Sex Offenders Register.