DCSIMG

Sex offender tried to rape woman in common stair

Picture: TSPL

Picture: TSPL

A SERIAL sex offender has been convicted of trying to rape a complete stranger after he grabbed her off a busy city street.

• Serial sex offender convicted of attempted rape in Lothian Road

• Thomas Donnelly, 35, tried to drag 21-year-old woman into stairwell after night out

Pervert Thomas Donnelly, 35, followed the 21-year-old woman along Edinburgh’s Lothian Road as she returned home from a night out in the city.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Donnelly - who was also convicted of attempted rape in 2003 - grabbed the female and forced her into a common stair.

He then pushed her against a wall, placed his hand over her mouth and started struggling with her but the woman - who can’t be named for legal reasons - managed to push him away from her.

People who were passing by heard her screams for help and came to help her - but Donnelly ran off only to be caught a few hundred yards away.

When police quizzed him about his behaviour, Donnelly seemed unconcerned about his victim’s well being.

The story emerged following a three day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Donnelly, originally of Falkirk, denied assaulting the woman with the intent to rape her on July 15 last year.

The court heard that Donnelly had spent the hours leading up to the assault walking around Edinburgh city centre.

He had spent the evening drinking in pubs in the city’s George Street and had gone to a nightclub nearby.

But Donnelly left the club and spent hours walking up and down Lothian Road. He then started following his victim shortly before 4am.

The court heard that the woman felt scared and tried to walk away from him - but he kept on following her.

The court heard that eventually Donnelly forced the woman off the street and tried to sexually assault her in a common stair.

But the woman forced him off her and then screamed for help.

The court heard that a number of people came to help her - and Donnelly ran off.

When police caught him, Donnelly denied trying to sexually assault the victim.

During proceedings, prosecution lawyer Leanne Cross told the jury that all the evidence pointed to the fact that Donnelly had attempted to rape the woman.

Ms Cross added: “His intention was to have sex with her. I ask you to convict him.”

After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict.

Ms Cross told judge John Beckett QC that Donnelly had previous convictions for dishonest, road traffic offences and assault.

The advocate depute told judge Beckett that he was also convicted in 2003 for assault with intent to rape.

Judge Beckett deferred sentence on Donnelly in order for the court to obtain reports about his character.

He will be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on March 7 2013.

Judge Beckett told Donnelly: “You have been convicted of a serious offence. It is made even more serious by the fact that you have an analogous conviction. I cannot proceed any further at this stage without a criminal justice and social work report.

“I am considering imposing an extended sentence on you. I need to give some thought as to how I am going to protect the public from you.”

Judge Beckett ordered Donnelly to be detained in custody.

 
 
 

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