Man cleared of rape attempt six months after death

The crime alleged against Ian Shaw took place on the banks of the Caledonian Canal. Picture: Geograph

The crime alleged against Ian Shaw took place on the banks of the Caledonian Canal. Picture: Geograph

Share this article
0
Have your say

A MAN who was convicted of the attempted rape of a woman doctor has been cleared six months after his death.

Ian Shaw, 60, from Inverness, died from a suspected heart attack in October last year, having served two months of an 18- month sentence in 2012 for the alleged sex attack.

He was freed on interim liberation in December 2012 pending an appeal lodged by his defence solicitor Eilidh Macdonald.

But Mr Shaw died before the result of the appeal, and solicitor advocate Shahid Latif took up the case on behalf of his family after fresh evidence came to light.

A more thorough forensic examination of his computer revealed Mr Shaw was on social media sites a short time before the doctor, who was out jogging, was attacked on the banks of the Caledonian Canal, Inverness, in January 2012.

His lawyers argued that Mr Shaw, who suffered mild learning difficulties and was clinically obese, could not have travelled almost three miles to the scene and committed the assault within the timeframe.

It emerged yesterday that the Crown were not opposing the appeal. A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Crown’s decision was taken following careful consideration not only of the grounds of appeal and the evidence at the trial but also additional evidence which came to light after the trial.

“In particular, it was considered that had the additional evidence been heard at the trial, it would have had a material impact upon the jury’s deliberations.

“In view of this, it is no longer appropriate to support the 
conviction.”

It is understood Mr Shaw’s younger brother, Peter, was determined to clear his name and instructed the appeal to continue after his brother’s death.

Scottish law allows a close relative or other interested party to pursue a posthumous appeal. Mr Shaw was convicted by a majority verdict of the assault, based largely on police evidence of admissions he was said to have made to officers.

Questioned in a police station, Mr Shaw had admitted he would have liked to have sex with the doctor.

The doctor, who was 27 at the time of the attack, was conned into helping a man walking his dog, who pretended to have been taken ill. But he then grabbed her and wrestled her to the ground.

The attacker was described by the doctor as being about 20 stone and Mr Shaw roughly fitted the description.

But there were other discrepancies. Mr Shaw had to wear glasses permanently and would not have been able to see in the dark without them. The victim said her attacker wore none and also reported a different breed of dog from that which Mr Shaw often walked in the area.

A jury convicted him of assault with intent to rape after hearing police evidence. But after his conviction, it was proved Mr Shaw was speaking to a woman on Facebook in another part of the country at the time of the attack.

Records showed the conversation was conducted from his home computer rather than from a mobile device that could access the internet.

A source said: “He died with this massive stain against him, when he was at home at the time of the offence.”

Mr Latif, of Inverness firm Craig Wood Solicitors, said yesterday: “We are pleased that in the end justice has been done, but it is a pity Mr Shaw didn’t live to see his name being cleared.

“We are also pleased that in this case the Crown accepted the conviction was unsafe and should be set aside.”

Asked if the Crown Office was going to order Police Scotland to re-investigate the crime, the spokesman added: “We are considering the matter.”

Back to the top of the page