Rapist jailed for attack on girl who later took her own life

Dad-of-four Thomas Early, 49, has been jailed for nine years for the attack in Fife last year.

A man has been jailed for nine years for raping a 14-year-old schoolgirl who later took her own life.

Dad-of-four Thomas Early, 49, pleaded guilty to the sex attack, which happened in a flat in Lochgelly, Fife, on May 28 last year.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Early stripped off and then forced the girl to undress before raping her while she repeatedly begged him to stop.

On Wednesday, judge Lady Stacey told Early: “You raped a very young girl, she was only 14.

“I am told you are devastated by what you did. Mr Early you should be devastated. It was a disgraceful thing to do.

“The girl struggled and pleaded with you to stop, but you carried on.”

Early, who knew the girl’s brother, attacked his young victim in the early hours of the morning while she was staying with her sibling.

She attempted to fight him off, but was overpowered.

The following day her brother and his girlfriend noticed she appeared distant and troubled.

They repeatedly asked her what was wrong and eventually she wrote down what had happened and the police were called.

Intimate swabs taken from the girl were a match for Early.

The teenager took her own life several weeks later, just a few days after her 15th birthday.

Early, who had eight pages of previous convictions, was previously jailed for eight years in 1996 for an assault to severe injury.

Solicitor advocate Iain Paterson said: “He has a long-standing drug problem and has struggled and been in and out of prison.

“He consumed a large quantity of strong lager that day.

“He is devastated he has found himself in this position facing a rape charge. He has little recollection of the events.”

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