A MAN who abducted three teenage girls and raped one of the victims has been branded a danger to women and given a life sentence.
• The attacks were carried out over a four-year period
• Grampian detective Martin Dunn said attacks were carried out with “a degree of ruthlessness rarely encountered”
Stephen Dickson, 50, carried out the attacks in Aberdeen over a four-year period. In the last and most serious incident, he literally lifted a 15-year-old off the street and handcuffed her and drove her away in his car.
Dickson continued to protest his innocence at the sentencing hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh, but the judge, Lord Doherty, said he was satisfied that an order for lifelong restriction should be imposed. It allows Dickson to be detained indefinitely.
“You have been found guilty of four offences... in each case you preyed on vulnerable women. Your behaviour is extremely concerning, and escalated until you abducted and raped your last victim,” added Lord Doherty.
“I am in no doubt you pose a very serious danger to young women, to the safety of their lives.”
The judge ordered that Dickson should serve at least five years before becoming eligible for parole.
An earlier trial heard that the first offence, in October 2007, involved a 17-year-old who was approached by Dickson and persuaded to get into a car to be driven home. He took her to a different area and attempted to handcuff her.
Next, in December 2009, Dickson attempted to abduct a woman, 18, and grabbed her by the hair.
On Hogmanay 2010, he induced a 14-year-old girl to enter his car, and drove her to a car park where he robbed her of a handbag, a mobile telephone, a camera and £5.
The final attack occurred on 2 January this year, as the teenager walked home from a friend’s house. A car pulled up beside her. Dickson lifted her off her feet and carried her to the car and threw her inside, and handcuffed her hands behind her back.
“He grabbed my shoulders and chucked me in the back of the car,” the girl told the jury.
She was taken to a quiet area in the Torry district, and raped repeatedly.
The prosecutor, Keith Stewart, QC, described Dickson as “an insomniac prowler”, and the jury returned guilty verdicts against him.
The defence counsel, Donald Findlay, QC, said Dickson did not accept that he had committed the crime of rape.
“If the court is expecting an explanation or expression of contrition in respect of something done, given his position, I cannot provide that,” said Mr Findlay.
He added that Dickson had only trivial previous motoring convictions, and there was no history of criminality let alone violence.
“Why things should begin to turn awry in 2007, I do not know. Nobody seems to have really tried to find that out, or if they did, they did not succeed. It may be the man himself does not know,” said Mr Findlay.
“He seems to have developed some kind of notion that he could go up to comparative strangers, not just females, and offer them lifts hither and thither, and against that background the offences seem to have occurred. Whether that started as some misguided notion to offer help, or there is more to it, there is no clear answer. That is the strange and unusual background to Mr Dickson and the conviction.”
Following the trial, detective chief inspector Martin Dunn, of Grampian Police, said: “He is an extremely calculating individual, who carried out these attacks with a degree of ruthlessness rarely encountered in Grampian or indeed anywhere else in Scotland.
“He has shown a complete disregard for the emotional and psychological impact these attacks have had upon the lives of his victims, who despite this conviction, will take some time to come to terms with what has happened to them. These young women deserve a great deal of credit for their bravery in coming forward.”