South Scotland

Man who hid in attic after Dumfries sex attack jailed

Hugh Robertson Image copyright Iain McLellan/Spindrift Photo Agency
Image caption Robertson hid in the attic after carrying out the sexual assault

A man who hid in an attic after sexually assaulting a woman has been jailed for three years.

In addition to the prison sentence, Hugh Robertson, 33, of Thornhill, was told his name would remain on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

He carried out the attack in Dumfries in November 2014.

Last month a jury at the High Court in Glasgow deleted a charge of raping the woman but convicted Robertson of a violent sexual assault.

The court previously heard how he turned up at the house where he carried out the attack in an "angry and frustrated state".

The jury was told that the woman was struck with a belt and was "crying and very upset" during her ordeal. She suffered bruising and swelling.

Hiding in attic

Robertson tried to "barricade" himself in when police arrived but was eventually discovered hiding in the attic.

Susan Duff, defending, told the High Court in Livingston where he appeared for sentencing that he had gone to the woman's home in a bid to restart a relationship.

She said: "He did not, at trial or before - and still does not - accept the sexual element of which he's been convicted, but he accepted that he physically assaulted her.

"The events of that night have completely altered the course of Mr Robertson's life.

"He first consulted me in January 2015 when his distress was painfully obvious and he has continued to struggle emotionally with what has happened."

She said a social worker's report noted that he expressed "regret" for hurting his victim.

'Tragic end'

Ms Duff added that he was regarded as being at low risk of reoffending and at medium risk of sexual offending.

"Mr Robertson finds himself in a position he never thought he'd be in," she said.

"This was a tragic end to a relationship he'd still rather be in than out of."

Passing sentence, judge Lord Bannatyne told Robertson that he noted his age and the fact it was his first court appearance.

"I think it's fair to say you've led a reasonably useful and law-abiding life," he said.

"The charge of which you've been convicted is reduced in its seriousness, however, the charge does remain a serious one and there is no appropriate sentence other than a sentence of imprisonment.

"I believe that - taking into account all of the mitigatory factors in this case - the appropriate sentence is one of three years imprisonment."

The sentence was backdated to 14 June.

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