Rapist given life after drugging and abusing women

The High Court in Edinburgh. William Fenton was told he was a clear danger to females. Picture: Greg Macvean
The High Court in Edinburgh. William Fenton was told he was a clear danger to females. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A MAN who drugged and sexually assaulted four women was given a life sentence yesterday after a judge branded him “a clear danger to females”.

William Fenton was convicted earlier this year of lacing his victims’ drinks with a drug that rendered them unconscious before abusing them.

Fenton, 55, indecently assaulted three women and raped a fourth after administering the drug.

He was caught after police officers found footage of his offending when his mobile phone was examined.

Fenton, who was previously jailed for rape, indecent assault and drugs offences in Northern Ireland, claimed he was wrongly convicted of the latest offences after moving to Ayrshire.

At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, Lord Burns told him: “You were convicted in May of this year of the rape of one complainer and the sexual assaults of three others having given them some substance which rendered them unconscious.”

The judge said the offences were serious and bore similarities to Fenton’s previous convictions.

Lord Burns said: “In particular, I note you have been convicted in the past of the sexual assault of young girls and of women. In 2000 you were convicted of rape and later that year indecent assault on a female after administering some stupefying substance upon her.

“The risk you present to the public is a high one and you are really a clear danger to females.”

The judge imposed an Order for Lifelong Restriction on Fenton and ordered that he serve a minimum term of six years in prison before he becomes eligible to seek parole.

Lord Burns told Fenton: “This does not mean you will be released at the end of that period.”

The judge said that any future decision to allow Fenton out of prison would depend on the view that the parole board took of the risk he posed.

If freed by the parole authorities, Fenton would be kept under supervision.

Defence solicitor advocate Edward Gilroy told the judge: “He continues to maintain he has been wrongly convicted.”

He added that, given the type of offending, his previous convictions and the contents of a risk assessment report, Fenton was “realistic” about the outcome of yesterday’s proceedings.

Fenton had been found guilty of giving four women a substance in Ayr between June 2011 and April last year before committing the sex attacks.

His trial earlier heard that victims knew Fenton as Billy or Irish Billy.

One woman told the court that she was shocked when she was shown images from footage of her taken by Fenton on his mobile phone.

A 26-year-old told how she was given drinks at Fenton’s home in Ayr which made her feel strange. She awoke with him rubbing baby oil on her body and jumped up and slapped him before fleeing.

Another victim said she had gone to Fenton’s house and had a couple of sips of lager, and then wanted to lie down and sleep. She woke up to him touching her and pushed him away.