Man violently raped mum of three at house party

The jury at the High Court in Livingston took less than an hour to convict Cowan.
The jury at the High Court in Livingston took less than an hour to convict Cowan.

A Fife man has been convicted of violently raping a mum of three at a house party.

Gordon Cowan had denied rape and claimed that any sexual activity at the Lochgelly house between him and the 27-year-old, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, had been consensual.

But a jury at the High Court in Livingston took less than an hour and a half to convict him of the crime.

Jurors heard evidence that Cowan (27) struggled with his victim in a bathroom, causing her to fall to the floor and strike her head.

He kissed her and bit her neck before raping her, then grabbed her by the hair and pushed her head against the toilet all to her injury.

The jury heard that the woman sent a text to her estranged husband on the way home saying something had happened.

When he dropped off their daughter at her home he found with her make-up marked with tears and heard her claim she had been raped.

He gave evidence that she was in a distressed state with what appeared to be a ‘love bite’ on her neck and that her hair appeared to have been pulled from behind leaving a loose tuft at the back of her head.

A police officer also spoke of the woman’s tearful behaviour and said the victim was repeatedly vomiting into a basin as she gave her statement.

After the attack was reported to the police Cowan went AWOL for six months, the jury was told.

He claimed in his defence that he had gone to find work in England, but advocate depute Stewart Ronnie suggested he had been trying to evade justice.

Giving her evidence from behind a screen, the woman involved said was on a night out with two female friends after separating from her husband when Cowan turned up at the party in a flat in Lochgelly, with a male pal.

She said she had drunk a glass of red wine and a bottle of Buckfast during the evening but admitted that her memory of the night was “blurry” in parts, possibly because of what she had drunk.

She said Cowan’s male friend had left in the early hours of the morning.

Her two female friends, who were both extremely drunk, had gone to bed after the all-night booze session, leaving only her and the accused awake.

She claimed she had a clear memory of Cowan bursting into the toilet of the one-bedroomed flat when she was partially undressed and forcing himself on her.

A neighbour, disturbed by noise coming from the party flat, said she saw the complainer sitting in the accused’s lap and kissing him on the balcony in the early hours of the morning before the alleged incident.

But the victim maintained that she had continually pushed Cowan away and rejected all his advances.

Cowan, who is currently a prisoner at Perth, claimed the sexual contact on 22 April last year, had been consensual and that the alleged victim had been drunkenly flirting with him all night.

The jury returned a majority verdict finding the rape charge proven.

Judge Lord Uist told Cowan: “You have been found guilty by the verdict of the jury of the serious crime of rape.

“I can’t pass sentence today because you’ve never previously served a custodial sentence. I require a criminal justice social work report.”

He adjourned the case until May 10 at the High Court in Edinburgh and remanded Cowan in custody until then.

Cowan, who shook his head in disbelief as the verdict was announced, was led to the cells.

Thanking the jury for the “very obvious care and attention” they had shown to the evidence, Lord Uist remarked: “It was quite an unpleasant case to have to deal with.”