Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Haddington man jailed for attempting to rape schoolgirl

A man has been jailed for five years for attempting to rape a schoolgirl after buying alcohol for underage drinkers.

Ruslanas Kukanauza attempted to rape the 14-year-old in Haddington, East Lothian, in 2013.

The 25-year-old, of Haddington, was also found guilty of sexually assaulting three other underage girls.

A judge told Kukanauza he was "bound to impose a sentence of imprisonment" given the nature of the offence.

The first offender had earlier denied a series of charges, but was found guilty after a trial of the attempted rape, as well as further attacks on other female victims in Haddington.

During a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh, Kukanauza, originally from Lithuania, was also placed on the sex offenders register.

Judge Michael O'Grady QC previously told him: "It is apparent to me from the circumstances of this case that you are inclined to prey on young women as a matter of course."

He said: "It goes without saying that the crime of attempted rape is always a cowardly and serious offence."

The judge added that it was particularly so when "perpetrated by a grown man on a child" who was vulnerable.

Bought alcohol

The victim of the attempted rape, who is now aged 17, said that at that time of the offence she would sometimes meet up with friends and go out drinking.

She told advocate depute Jo McDonald that they would ask others to buy alcohol for them.

The teenager said she had told her mother she was going to the gym and she was given money, but her intention was to buy drink.

Kukanauza came down the street and one of her friends said he would buy them alcohol as he had done it before. She told the court she had contributed £20 and he came back with a bag containing lager, cider and gin.

"He sat with us for a bit and then we got invited up to his flat," she said. They went to the flat in Hardgate, Haddington, where she was drinking gin.

No consent

They later left after Kukanauza said he was going to the pub for a drink, but were told they could return to the flat later and were given the chance to stay.

The teenager said: "I was really quite drunk."

She and others were lying on a bed and Kukanauza joined them. She said she was wakened up by her body "shaking" and had never consented to what was occurring "because I was sleeping".

She said as soon as she realised what was going on she stood up and left the flat.

Defence counsel Matt Jackson told the court that Kukanauza still maintained his innocence.

Mr Jackson said: "He does go so far as recognising that he was wrong in involving himself in any kind of supply of alcohol."

The defence counsel said Kukanauza had come to Britain as a 17-year-old to find employment and had shown a strong work ethic.

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