Rapist punched sleeping woman and attacked boys in abuse campaign

James Cunningham raped three women, including one while she was underage, and forced a boy to sleep on the floor in a pool of his own sick.

Rapist James Cunningham punched woman as she slept and attacked children in 23-year abuse campaign Police Scotland

A rapist who hauled a sleeping victim from her bed to get him mince and tatties has been jailed after perpetrating abuse and assaults against women and children.

James Cunningham, 56, was convicted of raping three women during a 23-year catalogue of offending against victims.

A judge at the High Court in Edinburgh told the first offender: “It is inevitable that you will receive a lengthy custodial sentence as a result of the jury’s conclusions.”

Judge Susan Craig KC said: “You have been convicted of all of the charges you faced, all nine of them.”

Cunningham, of Headwell Avenue, Dunfermline, in Fife, had denied the series of charges during a trial but was found guilty of three rapes, four assaults and two crimes of indecent conduct. All of the offences occurred in Fife between 1985 and August 2008.

One woman, who was repeatedly attacked and raped by him, told the court that Cunningham was “quite abusive and controlling” with her.

She said: “He would call me names. He would hit me, punch me, strangle me. He pinned me up against a door. He threw things at me.”

The woman, now 57, said that on one occasion she was lying in bed sleeping in the early hours of the morning. “He punched me on the head and side and pulled me out the bed.

She said she was told to go and get him mince and tatties and added: “I had to go and do that.”

The woman said she was repeatedly raped and told the court: “He would just force himself on me. He would just take what he wanted.”

Cunningham began assaulting a child when the boy was aged four in 1985 and slapped and kicked him and forced him to sleep on a floor where he had been sick.

A second woman was assaulted by him and pinned to a sofa, slapped and punched, blindfolded and threatened during violent abuse directed at her before she too was assaulted and raped.

A second boy was also subjected to attacks by Cunningham from the age of four in 1993 and was slapped, punched and pushed.

The sex abuser also began preying on an underage teenage girl in 1996 and carried out indecent acts on her, while another child victim was also subjected to his unwanted attentions from the age of 13 and molested by him.

Cunningham was on bail until the jury returned its verdicts but was remanded in custody for the preparation of a background report.

He was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and jailed for 12 years at the High Court in Livingston.

Detective constable Ross French from Fife Division said: “Cunningham is a narcissistic predator who has refused to admit his guilt and has shown no remorse for his despicable crimes.

“I want to commend the victims for the strength they have shown throughout this investigation and trial. My thoughts remain with them and I hope that this sentencing brings them some comfort and helps them move forward.”

DC French added: “We have detectives dedicated to investigating such offences, and no matter how much time has passed, please report it. You can be assured that you will be fully supported by officers and our partner agencies.”

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