Fife man jailed for abduction and rape of schoolgirl

Mark Armstrong, who subjected his 15-year-old victim to a 32-hour-long ordeal.
Mark Armstrong, who subjected his 15-year-old victim to a 32-hour-long ordeal.

A Fife man who admitted abducting and raping a 15-year-old girl has been jailed today (Wednesday).

Mark Armstrong (26) abducted the teenager on March 12 last year whilst she was walking home from school.

He subjected the girl to a 32-hour-long ordeal, involving numerous rapes and assaults, before leaving her at Lochore Meadows in the early hours of March 14.

Armstrong appeared today (Wednesday) at Glasgow High Court, having previously pleaded guilty on July 10, 2015 and was given an order of lifelong restriction.

Armstrong, of Dunfermline, has also been placed on the Sex Offenders Register after earlier pleading guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh to rape, assault and robbery charges.

In a series of crimes around the Dunfermline area, three women were attacked by Armstrong within a seven day period from March 4, 2015. On each occasion he assaulted them and stole their handbags.

His offending then escalated dramatically on March 12 when he attacked his 15-year-old victim as she walked home from a bus stop at the Halbeath Campus of Fife College.

Armstrong grabbed her, dragging her off to a secluded area where despite struggling with him as much as she could, she was assaulted and raped.

Afterwards he led her to his home, following a number of different routes in a deliberate attempt to disorientate her.

In an ordeal lasting approximately 32 hours she was repeatedly raped.

Finally in the early hours of Saturday morning, he walked her to a countryside area, told her he was leaving and returned her mobile phone.

She was able to raise the alarm by contacting her family.

Armstrong was traced when the girl was able to recall details and identify the locations at which she’d been held.

Speaking after sentencing at the High Court in Glasgow, Kath Harper, head of COPFS National Sexual Crimes Unit, said: “Mark Armstrong carried out what was an appalling attack on a young girl heading home from school, subjecting her to a terrifying ordeal, and now faces many years behind bars as a consequence of those actions.

“It was thanks to the incredible bravery and determination of his young victim, in providing as much information as possible to police, that they were able to apprehend Armstrong so quickly and also uncover evidence linking him to the earlier attacks on the three other women.

“We would encourage all victims of sexual crimes to come forward and report them. They will be treated with professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors and we will do all in our power to deliver justice.”

Detective Chief Inspector Michelle Johnson of Police Scotland, added: “Mark Armstrong is a depraved individual who targeted his victims and ultimately put one through a terrifying ordeal.

“It is due the courage and the bravery of Armstrong’s 15-year-old victim that he has been brought to justice.

“It is not an overstatement to say she cracked the case for officers, and as an organisation Police Scotland pays tribute to her maturity and resolve.

“We hope that this sentence will allow Armstrong’s victims, and their families, to move forward and rebuild their lives.”