Highlands & Islands

Rapist William Beattie jailed for 'gross sexual cruelty'

A man found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting women in Easter Ross has been jailed for 11 years and two months.

William Beattie, 51, who lived in Tain before moving to Glasgow, denied the charges but was convicted of what a judge called "gross sexual cruelty".

He raped one of the women, now 39, and assaulted her with a shotgun.

He raped a second victim, who is now 65, and sexually abused and threatened a third woman, who is now aged 50.

His trial at the High Court in Edinburgh heard that some of the offences, which dated back to 1994, happened in Alness and Invergordon.

Sentencing Beattie at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Uist told him that he had been convicted of "a prolonged course of sexual abuse."

The judge said: "Threats and violence were used by you to enable you to engage in disgusting and depraved conduct, as well as to commit many rapes.

"Vulnerable victims were subjected to degrading and humiliating experiences by you and it is not going too far to describe what you did to them as gross sexual cruelty."

During his trial, Beattie said he was shy and found relationships with women difficult. He described the women's evidence as "rubbish".

Solicitor-advocate John Keenan, defending, said Beattie continued to protest his innocence.

Lord Uist told Beattie: "You have continued to call your victims liars, you have continued to deny your guilt, and have shown no remorse whatsoever."

The judge said the sentence would have been 12 years if Beattie had not spent time on remand waiting for trial.

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