Rugby rapist sentenced to six years in jail

The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: John Devlin
The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: John Devlin
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A RUGBY player was jailed for six years yesterday for raping a teenager after playing in a ­sevens tournament.

A judge told Girvin Imrie, 25, that “a significant custodial ­sentence” was required following Imrie’s conviction for the sex attack on the intoxicated victim.

Imrie grabbed the girl and raped her at a garden at the rear of Howe of Fife rugby club on 5 May last year.

Lord Kinclaven at the High Court in Edinburgh said he had read a large number of character references submitted to the court. He added: “You are a first offender. You have previously been of good, indeed in your case exemplary, character.”

However, he said: “The fact remains you have been found guilty by verdict of the jury of a serious sexual offence.”

The judge pointed out that the victim was only 19 at the time of the offence and was not known to Imrie prior to the night of the assault. He said he had seen a victim statement which included the emotional and psychological impact.

The judge said there was clearly no alternative to a prison sentence and added: “The court requires to mark the seriousness of your offending.”

Imrie, a chemical engineer, from Cupar, had denied raping the woman at a garden near the Fife town’s Provost Wynd and Wide Pend, but was found guilty after trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The victim said in evidence that she had been at the rugby sevens event at Duffus Park, Cupar, with friends and ended up at the clubhouse.

She said that after a few drinks, she decided to go to the toilet but instead ended up outside. She said: “I was very happily drunk. I remember thinking I had to phone my boyfriend, but I can’t remember if I phoned him. I just remember somebody being behind me.

“I know he was quite strong. He was hurting my arm. I was scared. I remember a big, dark shadow. He never said a word.”

She said the only part of her attacker she could see was his hands as he held her in a vice-like grip and raped her before running off.

The court heard that a hat Imrie had been wearing that night was found close to where the rape had occurred. A DNA sample was taken from his victim, but went ­missing after a police office was closed down the day after the ­attack.

But after hearing that police were investigating an incident at the rugby club, Imrie told them he had consensual sex in the area that night.

Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson said the circumstances of the case were tragic both for the victim and for Imrie and his family. Pleading for leniency, Mr Paterson said Imrie was an individual “who is unlikely to re-offend in the future” who had previously achieved academic and sporting success.

Imrie was also placed on the sex offenders’ register.