Ex-policeman guilty of raping two women

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A FORMER police officer wept after a jury convicted him yesterday of repeatedly raping a colleague and another woman.

Stephen Cooperwhite, 35, subjected the two women to a series of sexual assaults dating back to September 2002.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Cooperwhite attacked the women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at addresses in the Hebrides and Stirlingshire.

The court heard how the former policeman, who quit his Central Scotland Police job late last year, would use physical force to get his way with his terrified victims.

He would then ignore their pleas for him to stop and carry on abusing them.

Cooperwhite was caught after the policewoman that he abused told senior officers at Central Scotland Police what had happened to her. Detectives launched an investigation and uncovered evidence that Cooperwhite had also abused another woman.

Cooperwhite was arrested in August 2010 – just as he was completing his basic training at the Scottish Police College in Tulliallan, Fife.

The court heard that while he was attending the police college he was rumoured to be cheating on his partner with another officer.

At his trial, he claimed that his victims had made up lies about him.

But a jury of eight men and seven women returned verdicts of guilty on two charges of rape against Cooperwhite, of Paisley, Renfrewshire.

Judge John Beckett QC told the first-time offender that he would be remanded in custody and sentence would be deferred to the High Court in Glasgow on 22 March.

Cooperwhite pled not guilty to the charges, but his first victim told the court how Cooperwhite physically assaulted and raped her at an address in Benbecula.

The 34-year-old woman told the court: “I tried to push him away. But he wouldn’t stop. He grabbed me on the arms tightly. He hit me against the kitchen door. He was strong – it was quite an overwhelming feeling.

“He punched me on the side of the face. I was shocked. It was horrifying.”

The court heard that a number of years then passed before Cooperwhite decided to join Central Scotland Police.

But upon becoming an officer, he targeted a female colleague and repeatedly attacked her at an address in Stirlingshire.

The court heard the WPC say she was shocked and horrified about what happened to her.

She said she felt unable to concentrate on her work and her performance suffered.

But she finally reported the attacks to her superiors, who ordered an investigation.

She told prosecution advocate Tim Niven-Smith: “I was depressed. I was very emotional. I confided in colleagues about what happened.”

Detectives then started investigating Cooperwhite and were able to establish that he had abused the other woman.

Cooperwhite shook his head in disbelief as the jury foreman returned the verdicts and started to cry.

Defence advocate Thomas Ross asked the court to grant Cooperwhite bail while reports into his client’s character were prepared before sentencing, but judge John Beckett QC refused the request.