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Caithness rapist jailed for 9 years at High Court in Edinburgh

By Ali Morrison

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The High Court in Edinburgh.
The High Court in Edinburgh.

A sex offender who was freed by appeal judges a week before he stood trial for rape and extortion was jailed for nine years today (Friday).

William Fraser (51) preyed on his victim for months when he subjected her to sexual abuse and threatened to post intimate photos and videos of her on social media to extract money from her.

A judge told Fraser at the High Court in Edinburgh: "You exploited the fact that she was a vulnerable individual to get what you wanted, whether that was sex or money."

Lord Scott said that a victim impact statement prepared by the woman detailed the "serious and ongoing impact" of Fraser's criminal behaviour on her.

"You made her feel trapped and unsafe in her own home, the place she was entitled to feel safest of all," said the judge.

The judge told Fraser: "You maintain your innocence of the seven main charges. You have minimised, denied and lied. You have sought to blame your victim rather than accept any meaningful responsibility whatsoever. Mr Fraser, there is only one person responsible for where you are today - you."

Lord Scott said that Fraser's controlling and exploitative behaviour towards the woman involved serious emotional, sexual and financial abuse.

He ordered that Fraser, formerly of Rotterdam Street, Thurso, in Caithness, should also be under supervision for a further two-year period when he will be under licence and can be returned to jail if he breaches its conditions.

The judge said that a week before Fraser's earlier trial at the High Court in Inverness appeal judges quashed a prison sentence imposed on him for another offence and substituted a community payback order.

Lord Scott said it was "a matter of concern" that the case was presented to the appeal court without mention that he was due to imminently stand trial.

Fraser had denied a series of charges during his trial but was found guilty of raping his victim on various occasions between April 2019 and June 2020 at addresses in the Highlands.

Some of the sexual assaults committed against the woman occurred when she was asleep and Fraser also tried to remove her contraceptive coil.

He was also convicted of carrying out a course of abusive behaviour towards her during which he took possession of her mobile phone, monitored her contact with others and controlled what food she could eat.

Fraser also photographed the woman's breasts and private parts when she was sleeping and threatened to put intimate material on social media if she did pay over sums of money.

He also sent messages to two other women that were offensive or menacing during the course of 2020.

During his trial Fraser admitted breaching a bail order after being in the company of the rape victim in June 2020 and obstructing or hindering police officers in Thurso that month when he ran from the constables.

Defence counsel Paul Nelson KC told the court that Fraser did not "enjoy an optimal upbringing" and added: "There is little, if anything, I can say regarding the offences on the indictment standing his continued denial of involvement in them."

Fraser, who followed the sentencing proceedings via a TV link to prison, was told he will be on the sex offenders' register for an indeterminate period from today.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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