As stu­dent faces jail, trou­bling ques­tions over ‘fail­ure’ of col­lege author­i­ties to safe­guard women An­other sex at­tack at a uni­ver­sity, a fresher’s life blighted... and cam­pus safety un­der the spot­light

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Ge­or­gia Ed­kins

A STU­DENT was free to carry out a sex at­tack in uni­ver­sity halls de­spite be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by po­lice over other abuse al­le­ga­tions.

In a case prompt­ing calls for greater pro­tec­tion for stu­dents, Felix Beck as­saulted a fresher at a top Scot­tish uni­ver­sity, leav­ing her vis­i­bly in­jured and se­verely trau­ma­tised.

He was al­ready un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion over claims he had raped an­other fe­male stu­dent.

Yet The Scot­tish Mail on Sun­day can re­veal that de­spite the po­lice probe and of­fi­cial uni­ver­sity guide­lines, the 22-year-old had nei­ther been sus­pended from his stud­ies at the Uni­ver­sity of Ed­in­burgh nor banned from en­ter­ing halls of res­i­dence.

Beck is due to be sen­tenced next week for the at­tack that left his vic­tim so dis­tressed that she started a course at a dif­fer­ent uni­ver­sity.

Last night, cam­paign­ers ac­cused the Uni­ver­sity of Ed­in­burgh of a ‘shock­ing’ fail­ure to safe­guard its stu­dents.

The mother of Emily Drouet, an 18-year-old Aberdeen Uni­ver­sity stu­dent who took her own life af­ter be­ing abused by her boyfriend An­gus Mil­li­gan, said uni­ver­si­ties should is­sue ‘pro­tec­tive sus­pen­sions’ to those ac­cused of a se­ri­ous crim­i­nal of­fence.

Fiona Drouet, 46, said: ‘We need to re­move the per­son who is fac­ing the al­le­ga­tion from their stud­ies and from cam­pus. It is to pro­tect both par­ties – it is to pro­tect the per­son that has made the al­le­ga­tions and the per­son that has been ac­cused.’

Beck was well known on cam­pus for his ex­trav­a­gant par­ty­ing. Pic­tures thought to have been

‘We need to re­move the per­son from their stud­ies and cam­pus’

taken in 2016, the same year as the as­sault, show the for­mer his­tory stu­dent chug­ging Moet cham­pagne and de­tail­ing his trips to bars and clubs.

One stu­dent web­site awarded him the ti­tle of ‘Ed­in­burgh’s Mad­dest Fresher’. The ar­ti­cle went on to boast that Beck ‘topped the ‘sh*g leader board’, ref­er­enc­ing his al­leged sex­ual con­quests. But in his sec­ond year he was ac­cused of chok­ing and rap­ing a woman on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions while she was un­con­scious.

In Septem­ber 2016, she brought an­other rape al­le­ga­tion, spark­ing a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The uni­ver­sity was alerted to the ac­cu­sa­tions but did not im­me­di­ately sus­pend Beck from his stud­ies or bar him from uni­ver­sity ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Guide­lines is­sued by Uni­ver­si­ties UK sug­gest that of­fi­cials ‘may’ want to im­pose con­di­tions such as ‘sus­pend­ing the ac­cused stu­dent from his/her stud­ies’ and ‘ex­clud­ing the ac­cused stu­dent (for ex­am­ple, pro­hibit­ing the ac­cused stu­dent from go­ing to cer­tain ac­com­mo­da­tion blocks or us­ing the sports fa­cil­i­ties or from at­tend­ing a place­ment)’ if they are ac­cused of a crim­i­nal of­fence.

Be­cause the Uni­ver­sity of Ed­in­burgh had not sus­pended Beck, in Oc­to­ber 2016 he re­turned to an­other fe­male stu­dent’s halls of res­i­dence af­ter a Tin­der date.

He seized hold of the teenager’s neck, com­pressed it and bit her on the legs and pri­vate parts, leav­ing her with vis­i­ble in­juries.

Beck was charged with two counts of rape in re­la­tion to the first woman and one count of oral rape in re­la­tion to the sec­ond woman.

At the High Court in Ed­in­burgh in Novem­ber he was ac­quit­ted of the first charges – with one not guilty ver­dict and one not proven ver­dict.

The oral rape charge was deleted by the jury, but Beck was found guilty of se­ri­ous sex­ual as­sault against the sec­ond woman.

The judge, Lord Uist, said he was par­tic­u­larly con­cerned that Beck had car­ried out the sex­ual as­sault af­ter he had been in­ter­viewed by po­lice about a rape al­le­ga­tion brought by an­other stu­dent. Beck is due to be sen­tenced in Aberdeen on Thurs­day.

Rape Cri­sis Scot­land chief ex­ec­u­tive Sandy Brind­ley has now called for an over­haul of ser­vices at uni­ver­si­ties to sup­port all stu­dents who are at risk of sex­ual vi­o­lence.

She said: ‘Uni­ver­si­ties have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to do all they can to pro­vide safe en­vi­ron­ments for stu­dents.

‘Ded­i­cated sup­port ser­vices for stu­dents ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sex­ual vi­o­lence are es­sen­tial – stu­dents need to know where to turn if some­thing hap­pens.’

Last night, a Uni­ver­sity of Ed­in­burgh spokesman main­tained that the uni­ver­sity had stuck to guide­lines is­sued by Uni­ver­si­ties UK.

He said: ‘Cases like this are shock­ing and up­set­ting for our en­tire uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity. We take such in­ci­dents ex­tremely se­ri­ously and, when they hap­pen, we will al­ways take care­ful but also rapid ac­tion – based on the ev­i­dence avail­able to us, the in­ter­ests of the stu­dents con­cerned, and fol­low­ing of­fi­cial guid­ance from our um­brella body, Uni­ver­si­ties UK.

‘In cases such as these we may take pre­cau­tion­ary ac­tion such as sus­pend­ing or par­tially sus­pend­ing a stu­dent.

‘We do, how­ever, have to op­er­ate un­der the premise that the ac­cused is in­no­cent un­til proven guilty, so be­fore tak­ing any pre­cau­tion­ary ac­tion we nor­mally need to gather fur­ther in­for­ma­tion from the po­lice, wit­nesses and so on. Some­times wit­nesses may be ini­tially re­luc­tant for in­for­ma­tion to be shared more widely.

‘In this case, while we were do­ing this, a sec­ond al­le­ga­tion was re­ceived, at which point the stu­dent in ques­tion was fully sus­pended with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.’

Beck main­tained that the women in­volved had con­sented to the sex­ual ac­tiv­ity.

‘Stu­dents need to know where to turn’

CHAM­PAGNE STU­DENT: Abu­sive un­der­grad­u­ate Felix Beck pic­tured as ‘Ed­in­burgh’s Mad­dest Fresher’

PROUD TRA­DI­TION: But are fe­male stu­dents at the Uni­ver­sity of Ed­in­burgh, above, pro­tected prop­erly?

SUAVE IM­AGE: Felix Beck at­tends a black-tie ball. But his ‘charm­ing’ de­meanour masked a darker side

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