Man Facing Life For Raping Schoolgirl

7 August 2015, 12:23 | Updated: 7 August 2015, 12:24

A man who snatched a schoolgirl off the street and raped and abused her during a 32-hour ordeal is facing a life sentence.

A judge has called for a full risk assessment report to be prepared on Mark Armstrong - which can lead to the imposition of an Order for Lifelong Restriction.

Under such an indeterminate order, a court fixes the minimum term the criminal must serve but he will only be freed if the parole authorities are satisfied it is safe to do so.

Armstrong kidnapped a 15-year-old victim as she returned home from netball practice and warned her he had a flick knife and he would use it if she tried to flee or scream for help.

The 26 year old strangled the girl and subjected her to a brutal prolonged sex attack in the grounds of a derelict cottage.

Armstrong led the girl back to his home in Dunfermline in Fife and continued to subject her to sexual abuse and rape.  The victim later said it happened "over and over again".

Advocate depute Jane Farquharson earlier told the High Court in Edinburgh: "The accused only spoke to tell her what to do, to shut up or stop shivering."

"The victim describes feeling scared and increasingly angry and that she just wanted to go home," said the prosecutor. 

At one stage he took her back to the scene of the original rape after saying she could go home, but instead of letting her go he took her back to his house to renew the sexual assaults.

The victim's mother had reported her missing after searching for her daughter. Police who were searching the derelict cottage at Kingseat Road found the girl's T-shirt, bra and broken glasses and informed her mother.

Miss Farquharson said: "At this stage or course, the complainer's whereabouts were still unknown."

Only hours later did unemployed Armstrong finally free his captive and return her phone. The girl later told police: "I just wanted to call my mum."

The victim was able to describe a wheel at the entrance to Lochore Meadows country park, in Fife, and was reunited with her mother.

Miss Farquharson said her mother described seeing "a little figure standing next to the wheel". She added: "It didn't look like her daughter she said because it was so small."

Police who arrived at the scene described seeing the mother hugging the girl who was "shaking, crying and occasionally howling".

The victim had facial injuries that left her unrecognisable to officers from the photos of her they had been given in the missing person inquiry.

The court heard that throughout the 32 hours the girl had no food and only a cup of tea. When doctors saw her after her release she appeared to be dehydrated.

The advocate depute said that the victim was interviewed at length by police following her release. She added: "It was on any view a harrowing experience for her to have to relive, and in such detail, these events.

"The police are keen to emphasise the victim' resilience and determination throughout to provide them with as much information as she could possibly remember," she said.

After she was let out of hospital the teenager pointed out to police the home address of Armsrong and identified him from an image she was shown.

Unemployed Armstrong, of Macbeth Road, Dunfermline, previously admitted abducting, assaulting and raping the girl between March 12 and 14 this year.

He also pled guilty to a string of assault and robbery offences committed against women in the Fife town in the days leading up to the attack on the teenager.

Armstrong's previous criminal record includes convictions for physical violence, Miss Farquharson said the latest offences "reflect a sinister escalation in this accused's offending over a short period of time _ eight days _ in March this year".

His defence counsel Michael Anderson told the court today that no right-thinking person could not be moved by the resilience shown by the rape victim.

He said Armstrong recognised the impact of his behaviour. "He puts that down to substance abuse he had undertaken about three weeks prior to the offence," he added.

"On any view, he will be serving a considerable and lengthy period of imprisonment. He accepts that," said Mr Anderson.

The judge, Lady Wise, told Armstrong that he had pled guilty to an offence that was "horrendous in nature".

She said she would make a risk assessment order and told him that he could expect to be interviewed at length as that was prepared.

Armstrong was earlier placed him on the sex offenders' register. He was remanded him in custody.