Edinburgh man who threatened female MP jailed for raping two women

The juror collapsed in the High Court of Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL
The juror collapsed in the High Court of Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL
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A man who threatened sexual violence against a female politician was jailed yesterday for seven years for raping two women he met through dating websites.

Zachary Welsh, 24, attacked both women at his home in Edinburgh in assaults committed three years apart.

Welsh grabbed one woman by the body and pushed her against a door as he subjected her to two sex attacks in 2015.

He struck again last year when he slapped a second victim and used a sex toy on her during further rapes committed between May and July.

Welsh was under a community payback order at the time of the second offence after threatening to mutilate Conservative MP Lucy Frazer QC.

A judge at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday told him: “The way in which you treated your victims was both disgraceful and callous and you must now face the reckoning.”

Lord Uist said there were two aggravating factors, in that he was under a community payback order at the time of the second offence and that it involved a vulnerable adult.

The judge said: “You have continued to deny your guilt and failed to show any remorse.”

He told Welsh that he would be placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

Welsh, formerly of Royston Mains Gardens, had denied the rapes but was earlier convicted by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh of carrying out the sex offences against the two women, both aged 22.

His first victim met Welsh via Tinder and initially thought “he was the perfect gentleman to me”. She added: “He treated me with respect.”

But she said his personality changed. She said: “He would get angry at me for little mistakes.” She told his trial that Welsh switched to becoming “a horrible, awful person” who sexually abused her at his home and at an address in East Lothian.

Welsh’s second victim disclosed what had happened to her to a social worker who accompanied her to the police.

Welsh has one previous conviction for threatening and abusive behaviour which initially attracted a six-month jail sentence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, but the prison term was later quashed by appeal sheriffs and replaced with the community payback order.

The advocate depute said the offence involved Welsh leaving a voicemail message for MP Ms Frazer, who represents South-east Cambridgeshire, at her constituency office.

Sheriff Donald Corke, who jailed Welsh for that offence, said: “The threats and abuse you indulged in would clearly be intensely distressing to your target, her staff and her family.”