Man convicted over rape of 14-year-old Barrhead schoolgirl

A 20-year-old man has been convicted over a 'degrading attack' in which he raped a 14-year-old girl in Barrhead last year.
Samuel Ciornei, 20, was found guilty of raping a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Barrhead.Samuel Ciornei, 20, was found guilty of raping a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Barrhead.
Samuel Ciornei, 20, was found guilty of raping a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Barrhead.

Samuel Ciornei attacked the teenager as she left an Iceland supermarket in East Renfrewshire to collect her bike on August 7 last year.

He followed his victim into the area’s car park where he threatened her with broken glass before forcing her into bushes and raping her.

The sexual assault lasted seven minutes.

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The schoolgirl was able to flee her attacker after claiming she had money in her backpack and that her assailant needed to let her go to get it.

Mr Ciornei was found guilty of the rape at the conclusion of a trial at the High Court in Glasgow this morning.

Judge Kenneth Maciver told him: “This was a disgusting and degrading attack on an innocent young girl who was simply out to enjoy a cycle on a quiet summer evening.

“She was entitled to feel safe, but she was not safe. She was unfortunate enough to encounter you and she was subjected to a violent attack, which will live with her forever.

“Words cannot express the revulsion which society feels about such attacks of sexual violence.”

The 14-year-old stood up in court and gave evidence of her ordeal to the jury and has been commended for her bravery by senior police officers.

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When she returned to her bike, she noticed it had a flat tyre and walked it to a car park behind an Iceland supermarket to inspect it.

She told prosecutor Iain McSporran QC the man from Asda had been walking across the road from her and appeared behind her about 30 seconds after she stopped.

The teenager said he “gestured for a bike pump”.

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She said he did not think he spoke English and described him being “a bit nervous”.

“He pulled out a medium sized piece of glass,” she said.

“It was brown and quite jagged. He then put the glass up to my throat, he grabbed my hair and then he gestured for me to go to the bushes.”

Jurors heard Mr Ciornei pointed to an opening in the bushes and she crawled in.

Asked why she went in, the schoolgirl said: “Because I was scared.”

The teenager claimed Mr Ciornei sexually assaulted her and “gestured for money” using his hands.

She said she motioned back that she had money in her bag and it would be easier if they were out of the bushes.

Jurors heard when Mr Ciornei “forced” her bag off her back, she broke free and ran.

The teenager described being in “quite a state”, unable to breathe and “hyperventilating” and the police were called to report her ordeal.

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CCTV footage captured Mr Ciornei “directing or pushing” the girl into the bushes before disappearing after her.

Seven minutes later they emerged and she was seen breaking free from him and fleeing.

In evidence, Mr Ciornei claimed he followed her pushing her bike “intending to steal it” but it had a flat tyre.

He claimed that when he took hold of her she “struggled very hard to get away”.

Mr Ciornei also claimed the girl went into the bushes and he tried to follow her, but could not fit properly.

The labourer only arrived in Scotland on July 19 where he stayed with family in Barrhead.

Judge Maciver said that he was concerned that after such a short time in the country, Mr Ciornei was “drunk, aggressive and following a young girl, for whatever purpose”.

Defence advocate Geoffrey Forbes will give his plea in mitigation next month when Mr Ciornei returns to be sentenced.

Mr Ciornei was put on the Sex Offenders’ register.

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Detective Chief Inspector Gillian Patrick said: “Samuel Ciornei is a dangerous individual and we welcome the result from court. This was an incident which shocked the local community of Barrhead. However, I would like to reassure people that this type of crime is relatively rare.”