South Scotland

Ballymena man jailed over Galashiels rape

A man who abducted and raped a woman in a south of Scotland town has been jailed for six years.

A judge told Oran O'Neill, 20, of Ballymena, as he imprisoned him: "Galashiels is a safer place for young women to go out at night."

O'Neill carried out the sex attack on 15 July last year after taking his victim to gardens at Stirling Place.

He had denied raping the woman but was convicted at an earlier trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

O'Neill had come across his victim when she was drunk and sitting in a doorway.

Judge Gordon Liddle told him: "She was vulnerable and you took advantage of that."

Misplaced trust

He said that O'Neill offered to escort her and she had misplaced her trust in him.

At one point she ran off but O'Neill caught up with her and picked her up and carried her to a garden area.

He raped the woman while she was unconscious and continued after she regained consciousness.

The judge told him that what he had done was "a young woman's nightmare".

He said he had read a victim impact statement and added that she was now withdrawn and suspicious when out in company.

The judge told O'Neill that the sentence he imposed reflected the "despicable crime" he had committed and put him on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

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