A MAN described as a Jekyll and Hyde character has been jailed for ten years for an appalling catalogue of physical and sexual abuse of women.
Darren Butler, 32, was convicted by a jury of attacking four women and raping three of them. He also carried out degrading indecent assaults on the fourth woman.
A court heard that Butler’s campaign of terror had stretched over 12 years, and that it finally ended when the last of the victims had the courage to call in the police. The others had remained silent for years until, out of the blue, a detective knocked their door and asked about their ordeals.
The father of one of the women looked Butler in the eye as he told the High Court in Edinburgh: “That man there should not be with any woman. No woman at all.”
The judge, Lord Glennie, heard that Butler, of Kelty, Fife, had previously served a 32-month jail term for assaults on women. He said of the latest offences: “It is clear...your conduct has had a devastating effect on the lives of your victims. It has changed them from bubbly, attractive personalities to being racked by fear, anxiety and depression, and suffering from psychological scars.”
Butler insisted that he had merely retaliated in self-defence when the women had struck out at him, and claimed that he had never forced a woman into sex.
“If somebody says ‘no’, I take it as ‘no’. I’d never force them against their will,” he stated.
However, the jury returned guilty verdicts against him on a total of 15 charges, committed between 1998 and 2010. Seven of the offences were assaults involving punching, kicking, slapping, and, once, holding a machete at the victim’s neck and cutting her. Five charges were of rape, and three were of serious indecent assault.
One of the women, 32, told the court that she had met Butler in a club. She said: “He would not take ‘no’ for an answer. He just done what he wanted.”
The first violence against her had followed a “joke” by her brother about another man.
“(Butler) thought I was interested in him and I wasn’t. He just kept going on about it. He kept hitting me and said it was my fault because I had spoken to this guy. After it stopped, it was like it had never happened. He thought a ‘sorry’, a kiss and a cuddle, and everything would be all right,” said the woman.
Another victim, 31, met Butler on a night out and she said that, at first, “everything was fine.” However, she recalled an occasion when she saw a male acquaintance in a car park and the man “just to be nice” smiled at her.
“I said ‘hello’ back. (Butler) headbutted me,” she told the court.
Another time, she had laughed when Butler slipped on ice and fell and broke his prized watch. He “lay into” her, and she sneaked out of his flat when an opportunity arose, and walked nine miles late at night to her parents’ home. She said Butler’s treatment of her had left its mark.
“I am not the same person I used to be,” she added.
The victim who alerted the police told the jury that she and Butler had come off a quad bike when he crashed it, and he took it out on her. He dragged her “by the scruff of the neck” into his flat and attacked her.
“I was terrified. It was my fault, he said. It was me that made him feel like he had to do that. My job was to keep him happy,” she said.
In urging the jury to convict Butler, the advocate-depute, Tim Niven-Smith, described him as “an angry and violent man”.
He said: “He is easily wound up, a man who reacts to stupid things, a man who gets his own way, a controlling man...a Jekyll and Hyde with a drink in him. The trigger is a belief on his part that the female is interested in another male.”