A teenage rapist has been jailed for six-and-a-half years for a sequence of intercourse assaults.
Liam Hughes raped three schoolgirls – aged 14 and 15 – and sexually assaulted one other 15-year-old woman.
The 18-year-old, of Grangemouth, dedicated the offences within the Falkirk city between 2020 and 2022.
Hughes was instructed by a decide that he would have been spending longer behind bars had he been older on the time of his crimes.
Lord Young stated what Hughes did as an “immature teenager is less blameworthy than if you had carried out these acts as an older man”.
The decide stated he had taken into consideration the rules for sentencing under-25s.
‘None of this excuses your crimes’
He stated: “You committed these offences when you were aged 15 and 16, although the last offence was committed a few months before your 17th birthday.
“I contemplate that you simply have been an emotionally immature younger man on the time of those offences, not helped by having prepared entry to alcohol and unlawful medicine.
“You have also suffered from some mental health issues in your teens.
“None of this excuses your crimes, nor does it assist the younger girls who you might have harmed, however you will need to acknowledge that what you probably did as an immature teenager is much less blameworthy than if you happen to had carried out these acts as an older man.
“For that reason, the period of time which you will spend in detention for these offences will be shorter than an adult man would be sentenced for the same offences.”
New pointers for sentencing under-25s got here into impact in Scotland in January 2022.
The Scottish Sentencing Council really helpful a extra “individualistic approach” to take account of the perpetrator’s life experiences.
The modifications have been made to assist scale back reoffending by specializing in rehabilitation relatively than punishment.
Read extra from Sky News:
Man who raped and burned girl alive given lighter sentence on account of age
Rapist who attacked ladies given lighter sentence on account of ‘immaturity’
Men given lighter jail sentences for tried homicide
Hughes was convicted of 4 costs of rape and a single cost of sexual assault following a trial on the High Court in Stirling final month.
He was sentenced on the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday.
Lord Young famous that Hughes dedicated three of the rapes whereas he was on bail.
The decide stated: “The start of police involvement – far from being a wake-up call to you – seems to have had the opposite effect.”
In relation to one of many assaults, the court docket heard Hughes organized to fulfill a 15-year-old woman he “hardly knew”, raped her in woodland after which walked away.
The decide stated: “I have been provided with a victim impact statement from one of the young women which explains the significant effect which your attack has had on her mental health, her schooling and ultimately her hopes for the future.
“It is an inexpensive assumption that your different victims may even have suffered related hurt.”
Hughes was given an extended sentence and will be supervised for three-and-a-half years on his release from prison.
He has also been added to the sex offenders’ register for an indefinite period.
Lord Young said the extended sentence has been put in place to protect the public – primarily young women – from further serious harm.
The judge said: “While I hope that my concern proves unfounded, that threat is simply too excessive for me to disregard.”
Lord Young cited the criminal justice social work report, noting that Hughes had been deemed a medium risk of reoffending.
The judge added: “That report factors out that you simply search to deflect all accountability on your actions by blaming your victims and that until you’ll be able to change that mind-set, the chance of reoffending won’t scale back.”
Police Scotland branded Hughes a “sexual predator”.
Following the court docket case, Detective Inspector Forbes Wilson stated: “I would like to acknowledge how difficult it is for victims of serious sexual assault to stand up to their attacker and face them in court.
“Hughes is a sexual predator who’s now behind bars, and he can not drive himself on different younger ladies.
“If anyone is a victim of sexual assault or abuse, please report it to us in the knowledge we will do everything in our power to arrest the perpetrator.”