‘Jekyll and Hyde’ rapist re­peat­edly as­saulted vic­tims over five-year pe­riod

Fife man seized one vic­tim by throat and kept on punch­ing her

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - James mul­hol­land

A “Jekyll and Hyde”-style crook looks set to face a lengthy prison sen­tence af­ter be­ing con­victed of rap­ing and phys­i­cally as­sault­ing two women over a more than five-year pe­riod.

Michael Stu­art, 27, of High Street, Burn­tis­land, preyed on the two fe­males, who can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, at ad­dresses in In­ver­ness and Kirk­caldy.

The High Court in Ed­in­burgh heard how Stu­art started phys­i­cally abus­ing his first vic­tim in November 2006.

He then re­peat­edly raped her on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions be­tween March and De­cem­ber 2007.

In Oc­to­ber 2008, Stu­art started to as­sault an­other woman. He con­tin­ued to at­tack her un­til May 2012.

Stu­art then waited al­most two years be­fore rap­ing her some time be­tween November 1 2011 and De­cem­ber 31 2011.

The story emerged yes­ter­day fol­low­ing a week-long trial be­fore judge Lady Scott.

Stu­art had de­nied any wrong­do­ing and pleaded not guilty to a to­tal of seven charges. Prose­cu­tors with­drew two of the charges dur­ing pro­ceed­ings.

Af­ter three hours of de­lib­er­a­tions, ju­rors re­turned guilty ver­dicts to the five re­main­ing charges of rape and as­sault.

Fol­low­ing the verdict, judge Lady Scott re­manded Stu­art in cus­tody ahead of a sen­tenc­ing hear­ing next month.

She told him: “I am go­ing to de­fer sen­tence for the court to ob­tain a so­cial work in­quiry re­port. It will be in your in­ter­ests to co­op­er­ate with the au­thors of this re­port.”

Dur­ing pro­ceed­ings, pros­e­cu­tion lawyer Mark McGuire told ju­rors how Stu­art started abus­ing his first vic­tim when she was a 17-year-old ex­pec­tant mother in November 2006.

The as­saults, which took place at ad­dresses through­out In­ver­ness, con­tin­ued un­til Jan­uary 2008.

Mr McGuire told the court how Stu­art would seize the vic­tim by the throat, hold her against a wall and re­peat­edly punch and kick her on the body dur­ing the at­tacks.

On one oc­ca­sion, the court heard how Stu­art used a knife to cut the woman’s cloth­ing. He also called her deroga­tory names.

The woman told the court she plucked up enough courage to give ev­i­dence af­ter po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing Stu­art’s be­hav­iour con­tacted her.

The court also heard from Stu­art’s se­cond vic­tim, who was also a teenager when she first met him.

The fe­male told the court how she was 18 when she met the ac­cused.

She said Stu­art could be charm­ing and then an­gry within a few short mo­ments.

Mak­ing ref­er­ence to the book writ­ten by Scot­tish au­thor Robert Louis Steven­son, the woman added: “He was like Jekyll and Hyde.”

Fol­low­ing con­vic­tion, Mr McGuire told Lady Scott that Stu­art had con­vic­tions for vi­o­lence, ab­duc­tion and at­tempt­ing to per­vert the course of jus­tice. He will be sen­tenced at the High Court in Ed­in­burgh on De­cem­ber 12.

Michael Stu­art was found guilty of five charges of rape and as­sault against two vic­tims.

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