Tayside and Central Scotland

Serial sex attacker Scott Watson has sentence cut

A serial sex attacker jailed for life after attempting to rape a schoolgirl in 2005 can now seek his release after appeal judges cut his minimum sentence.

Scott Watson, 39 had already served a prison term for rape when he attacked the 15-year-old in Arbroath, Angus.

A judge ordered in 2005 that Watson should serve at least seven and a half years of a life sentence for the Abroath attack.

But appeal judges ruled that should be reduced to four and a half years.

Following the decision by the judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, Watson is now eligible to seek parole.

Watson, of no fixed address, was a stranger to the girl he admitted attempting to rape on 1 May in 2005.

Smeared with soil

The court heard how the girl was walking along West Abbey Street, Arbroath, in broad daylight when Watson shouted after her.

She ignored him but he caught her, punched her in the face and dragged her behind a caravan at a nearby car port.

Watson then pushed his victim to the ground. She tried to scream and struggle during the ordeal but had an arm put across her neck.

Her attacker threatened to kill her and smeared her with soil hoping to destroy evidence in the rape bid.

The girl managed to stagger to her boyfriend's home and police were called. Watson was later traced to Brechin.

'Sustained resistance'

The judge who jailed him for life in 2005, Lord Mackay, said it would be quite impossible for him to decide at the time at what stage it would be safe for Watson to be returned to the community.

He told him: "Clearly you committed a sexual assault of the utmost gravity. The resistance your victim put up is remarkable and she is to be commended for the manner in which she sought to resist this serious attack on her."

The judge said he considered it was only the girl's "sustained physical resistance" which prevented it being another rape.

Watson had earlier served five years of an eight year sentence imposed on him at the High Court in 1997 after committing a rape on a 28-year-old woman and the indecent assault of a 17-year-old girl, both of which took place in Montrose.

His appeal against the minimum term imposed on him was heard by the Lord Justice General, Lord Hamilton, sitting with Lord Drummond Young and Lord Wheatley.

It comes after a seven-judge bench earlier re-assessed the way in which punishment parts of sentences in such cases are fixed.

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