A sex predator who raped a sleeping woman was jailed for four and a half years today as a judge recommended that a victim statement be drawn to the attention of Scotland’s senior law officer so he could see the harmful effect of the time taken to bring the case to court.
Lord Turnbull said: “I have read the content of the victim impact statement provided by the complainer (victim) in this case and it really was quite troubling because the young lady is obviously quite articulate and able to explain quite powerfully the impact which this event had on her life.”
The judge said that part of the impact she described related “to the lengthy period of time which passed between the incident and the trial”.
Darren Anderson’s rape attack on the woman occurred in December 2014, but a preliminary hearing in the case was only held a year later with a trial in June this year.
The judge said the six-month period to bring the case to trial following the initial High Court appearance was “very lengthy and concerning” but was a consequence of the volume of case work the court faced and attempts were being made to address it.
But Lord Turnbull said: “The other concern is the amount of time the case took to get to court and that is something over which the court has no control.” The judge said that was entirely within the control of the Crown.
Lord Turnbull said he was going to suggest that given the powerful and articulate way the impact of the passage of time had been expressed by the victim it should be brought to the attention of the Lord Advocate so that he could see the harmful effect it had on people.
The judge told Anderson that he had taken sexual advantage of a young woman who was sleeping and whom he had only met on the evening of the attack.
He said: “The effect on her has been considerable as is clear from the term of the victim impact statement which she provided and I hope you have had an opportunity to read that.”
Lord Turnbull said: “The whole of society knows the importance of displaying respect towards young women and the whole of society understands that the conduct of young men who fail to show that respect by taking advantage of women in vulnerable situations cannot be tolerated.”
Anderson targeted the victim support worker when she fell asleep at a friend’s home in Livingston, in West Lothian. .
Anderson (26) of Morrison Way, in Livingston, had denied raping the woman while she was asleep and incapable of giving or withholding consent on December 20 in 2014, but was earlier convicted of the sex crime by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh.
The 23-year-old woman told his trial: “I did not want to have sex with him at all.”
She said she had been visiting a friend whom she had not seen for a while and they were planning to go out in Livingston but the other woman was not well.
Others arrived at the house, including Anderson, and a game of spin the bottle was played during which the woman was dared to kiss Anderson, which she did.
Anderson had asked her to go upstairs, saying it would “wind up” another of the men at the house. The woman, who had had a few drinks, said that she had kissed him again, but when he made a further advance on her she told him to stop and he did.
“I said ‘I am not that type of girl’ and he says ‘I know you are not’. I can always remember him saying that,” the 23-year-old told the court.
She had later gone to sleep on the couch after Anderson had asked if he could also sleep there. She said there was “no kissing or anything” but she wakened to find him having sex with her.
Anderson later claimed to police during an interview that the woman had led him on all night. He said: “She was over me all night.”
He accepted that he was touching her in an intimate way, trying to get her to wake up. At one stage he told officers: “We didn’t have sex. I guarantee.” He claimed he would be surprised if his DNA was found.
A swab taken from the woman confirmed that he did have sex with her.
Advocate depute Mark McGuire told jurors: “He wanted sex. She was asleep. He did not care.”
Mr McGuire said it had resulted in “a deliberate, degrading, disgusting attack on a helpless young woman”.
The prosecutor accused him of being “a predatory man who took advantage of a woman” who had previously rebuffed him which he had accepted at the time.
Defence solicitor advocate Peter Mullin said Anderson continued to maintain his innocence. Anderson was placed on the sex offenders’ register.