Two Sikh priests jailed for rape of Glasgow prostitute

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High Court in Edinburgh
Image caption,
The pair were sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh

Two Sikh priests have been jailed for a total of 12 years for raping a 26-year-old Glasgow prostitute after she refused to have sex with them.

Gurnam Singh, 30, was sentenced to seven years and Sukhdev Singh, 36, to five. Both will be placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

They will also be deported to India at the end of their prison terms.

Sentencing, Lord Pentland praised cyclist Allan Whyte for intervening to stop the woman's "despicable ordeal".

The Singhs, both married and with three children each still living in India, had been in Scotland only a short period - to work at the temple in Glasgow's St Andrews Drive - before the attack in the city centre in April.

Their victim had told a jury, which found the pair guilty at the High Court in Glasgow in October, that she was approached by the men who then tried to kiss her.

She told the men she was not "working" and walked off, but they followed her and eventually trapped her in Midland Street, where they pushed her into a doorway close to the Arches nightclub.

Cyclist rescue

Lord Pentland told the High Court in Edinburgh that he felt it right to acknowledge the role of "a young man, Allan Whyte" in ending her ordeal.

"Late at night, when he was cycling home, Mr Whyte encountered the two accused dragging the complainer away from the place where she had been raped, in the direction of the River Clyde," he said.

"Although he was alone, Mr Whyte intervened and challenged the two accused.

"He rescued the complainer from them and stayed at the scene with her, providing valuable information to the emergency services.

"Mr Whyte acted with commendable responsibility without regard for his own safety or interests."

The woman had told the jury that she was "crying, struggling and trying to get away" and had feared she was going to be "thrown in" to the River Clyde.

Gurnam Singh was also found guilty of another sexual assault in addition to the rape.

Wishes ignored

"You showed a shocking disregard and respect for the complainer," said Lord Pentland in sentencing him.

"She was, of course, perfectly entitled to decline to consent to any sexual activity.

"It seems you were both unwilling to accept that and pursued and harassed her and eventually you each participated in the despicable and degrading ordeal described by the complainer in her evidence.

"She was terrified and repeatedly pleaded with you to leave her alone, but you overrode her wishes."

Advocate Andrew Mason told the court that Sukhdev Singh continued to maintain his innocence.

Lord Pentland said he accepted that Sukhdev Singh's involvement in the rape "was at a somewhat lower level" than his co-accused - and that he had faced only the rape charge - but that he had acted in concert.