South Scotland

Dumfries man Alexander Neil convicted of 'vicious' rape

Image caption The court heard Neil's victim had suffered a "vicious, violent and terrifying" ordeal

A man who attacked a woman as she walked home from a night out and raped her is facing a lengthy jail term.

Alexander Neil, 29, of Dumfries, followed his victim, dragged her into bushes and put a screwdriver at her neck before sexually assaulting her.

He had denied the rape on 9 September last year on the A711 Dumfries to Dalbeattie road.

However, at the High Court in Glasgow he was unanimously convicted of carrying out the attack.

Neil denied any sexual contact with the woman and claimed it was "a miracle" that his DNA was discovered on her.

The court heard his DNA was found on the woman and a glove left at the scene also contained his DNA and that of his victim.

Judge Kenneth Maciver QC told Neil: "You have been convicted of what was a vicious, violent and, for the victim, a terrifying ordeal.

"This is an assault on an unsuspecting stranger.

"She was a woman walking home - she was entitled to feel safe, but she was not."

The judge said it was clear Neil had watched the woman, followed her and then waited for a chance to attack.

He added: "Fortunately assaults of this type on strangers are rare, but they are treated very seriously by the courts and you face a long sentence."

Neil was placed on the sex offenders' register and will be sentenced next month.

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